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Full text of "The recollections of Skeffington Gibbon, from 1796 to the present year, 1829; : being an epitome of the lives and characters of the nobility and gentry of Roscommon; the genealogy of those who are descended from the kings of Connaught; and a memoir of the late Madame O'Conor Don."

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FROM 1796, 




The reader will not accuse me of egotism for> 
candid, when, contrary to the acknowledgment of other 
writers, I tell him of the obscurity of my birth and the 
poverty of my parents. 

I was born in a rural but humble cottage on a small 
farm called Fairfield, on the Glinsk Manors, in the 
County of Galway. My father, who was descended 
from a respectable family in the County of Cork, at 
one time possessed the chief of that barony, which still 
retains the name of that ancient family, well known 
in and about the beautiful Fermoy as the Barony of 
Clan-Gibbon. In tracing the origin of my ancestors I 
find that the Province of Gibbelonian in the Italian 
States is their inheritance, from which some assumed 
the name of Giblon, a junior branch of which family 
inherited, about a century ago, the noble seat of Bally- 
giblon, now in the possession of Wrixon Beecher, Esq., 
who recently married the beautiful and esteemed Miss 
O'Neill, of the late Theatre-Royal, Crow-street. 

The first of my ancestors Avho landed in Great Bri - 
tain accompanied William Duke of Normandy in his in- 
vasion of that Empire in the tenth century, and obtained 
by their valor extensive manors in the Counties of Kent, 
Middlesex and Northampton, of which their descendants 



still retain a small remnant. The head of the family is 
now recognised by the title of that illustrious Baronet 
of Staines, (Sir John Gibbon,) in the County of Mid- 

The celebrated Edward Gibbon, so esteemed for his 
Roman History and his Letters to Lord Chesterfield, 8^c. 
was descended from the same ancestors. He tells us 
his father was a merchant in the City of London — that 
he was born at Putney on the banks of the noble 
Thames — that his mother was a Miss Porten, of the en- 
chanting Richmond Hill in the County of Surrey, and 
after her lamented demise, which was premature after 
his birth, he was brought into life by his maiden aunt, 
Avho spoonfed him for nearly nine months. However, I 
pass by that honorable and revered gentleman for the 
present, to give an account of the first of my ancestors, 
who accompanied Fitz-Stevens into Ireland in 1172, and 
obtained large manors in the Counties of Wexford and 
Waterford, and afterwards, on the reinforcement of 
Strongbow, aided by MacMurrough, King of Leinster, 
took possession of several strong castles in the Counties 
of Cork, Limerick and Tipperary. Catherine Gibbon, 
the celebrated Countess of Desmond, who fell by the 
side of her hoary-headed lord, in the eightieth year of 
jhis age, in a sanguinary battle between the Cromwel- 
lian Condons of Castlegibbon, now called Castletown- 
roche, on the banks of the copious and navigable River 
Blackwater, in the territory of the great MacCarthy, 
was daughter of the ancient but unfortunate family from 
which I am descended. 

The noble ruin called the " House of Desmond," in the 
town of Mallow, now in the possession of Mr. Jephson, 
the representative in Parliament for that borough, de- 
serves the tourist's notice, being one of the most mag- 
nificent structures that antiquity can boast of. It is 
situate in a beauteous and verdant glen, embracing a 

multiplicity of spontaneous boons, mountain air, a salu- 
brious spa adorned by the River Blackwater, and a 
country delightfully diversified — besides a town, to the 
credit of the respected inheritor, much and highly 

From the various sanguinary commotions and civil 
wars that distracted this kingdom during the reign of 
Elizabeth — the paramount sway of Oliver Cromwell and 
his rapacious freebooters, under the cloak of fanaticism, 
and latterly, the unrelenting atrocities committed on the 
natives during and subsequent to the sanguinary war 
between the unfortunate James II. and his nephew and 
son-in-law the Prince of Orange, such of the nobility as 
were not expatriated took refuge in the woods and 
forests in the province of Connaught, where thousands 
of them expired either by famine, an incurable flux, or 
a contagious epidemic, then called the long scarlet 
fever. Amongst these was my ancestor Richard Fitz- 
allen Gibbon, for whose head a large reward was offered 
by Colonel Carew, and General Boyle, ancestor of Lord 
Cork ; however, by changing his name to MacGib- 
bonne or MacGibbolone, he evaded being apprehended, 
and got married to the daughter of FitzMaurice, of the 
noble house of Clare-Maurice in Mayo, a family who 
only possessed a remnant of their former principality at 
the time, as the Binghams and the Gores, under the 
false surmise or accusation of the heads of that puissant 
and illustrious family being suspected Papists, and out- 
lawed for not joining the ruthless Cromwell and the 
Saints under his pious guidance, engrossed the chief of 
their patrimony and that of Burke the Lord of Mayo, 
and which, except what was sold through the prodigality 
of those unsought-fpr intruders, their heirs retain at the 
present time. 

In Mrs. O'Mooney's ^' Sketc\of her Ow7i Timet," she 
observes, in her view from the lofty Crough- Patrick, 

the wide districts in the possession of the Earls of Arrau 
and Lucan, (the latter title once justly bestowed on the 
illustrious heirs of Sarsfield) — " Those demesnes," adds 
she, " 111 got, one day or other will be ill gone." How- 
ever, to return to the subject of the family from which 
I am paternally descended : the progeny by the marriage 
with Miss Fitz-Maurice, by intermarriages, got settled 
in the Counties of Mayo and Galway. The chief of the 
Gibbon estates, which was part of the dowry of Miss 
Pitz-Maurice, was lately in the possession of that great 
diamond. Big Denis Browne, (recently deceased,) on 
which he built a family mansion, called fto immortalize 
his name) Mount-Browne. My grand-father, who mar- 
ried the daughter of O'Shaughnessy, of Gort Castle, fell 
in defence of his family and property, where he lived, in 
a rural villa in the vicinity of Mylough, in the County 
of Galway. In consequence of the undeserved outrage 
committed on my grandfather, (at the head of which 
was a tyrant of the name of Ormsby, well known as 
Robert Ormsby, of Tubberavaddy, near Roscommon, a 
notorious partisan with the celebrated Lord Santry, as 
Chairmen of the never-to-be-forgotten Hell-Jire Club, 
in College-green,) the land is now in the possession 
of an heiress of the house of Netterville, who is (I be- 
lieve) married to Mr. Gerrard, of Gibbstown, in the 
County of Meath. Much to the credit of Sir John 
Burke, of Glinsk Castle, (who married Miss Cicily Net- 
terville, of Longford, in that neighbourhood,) and a few 
Dominican Friars, who occupied a secluded convent 
and a few acres of land on the Burke manors, under the 
west wing of that lofty peak, called Mount-Mary, which 
separates the wide demesnes of those two ancient feudal 
Chieftains, (the Baronets of Glinsk Castle and the heirs 
of Castle-Kelly,) which at one time comprised upwards 
of twenty miles of the County of Galway, and the chief 
of the Barony of Athlone, in the County of Roscommon, 

tliey took compassion on the forlorn situation ol a des- 
titute widow and Iter four infant children, and provided 
the harbourless with a small hut on the verge of this 
romantic mountain, on the site of a wood, called Cappa 
Wood. In this desolate wilderness did the unfortunate 
daughter of the once noble house of O'Shaughnessy 
and her orphans live on the scanty produce of a barren 
mountainy garden, mingling their anguish and poignant 
destitution with their tears, and a multiplicity of priva- 
tions. I recollect myself having seen this farm ; it was 
recently held by an opulent grazier of the name of 
Kyne, who died suddenly at the fair of Fuerty, in that 
neighbourhood, a few years back. 

My father told me that his elder brother, who was a 
proficient in the common rudiments of education, eloped 
from his mother, when about eighteen years of age, 
and sailed from Cork for the United States. How he 
could get out to that lovely country at that time, with- 
out friends or money, as he was not possessed of a far- 
thing when he left his mother's humble cottage but one 
guinea, which had been sent her by the Catholic Bishop 
of Tuam, her maternal uncle, (Doctor O'Kelly,) who 
lived some time in the house of Ossy, near Glinsk, 
where a man of the name of Glynn keeps extensive 
nursery gardens at the present time. The mother's 
grief for her husband, their property, and her son was 
such, that it was impossible for her exhausted con- 
stitution to bear it any longer; she fell into a fit of 
despondency, and in a few weeks after the departure of 
her son, expired in the arms of her faithful friend, 
and the participator of her misfortunes — a foster-sister, 
who never forsook her in all her complicated disasters, 
till she saw her interred in the Abbey of Kilbegnad, in 
the ancient vault of the Skeffington family, to whom 
she was maternally allied through the O'Kellys of 
Aughrim Castle, so celebrated from its memorable battle 

in 1689. From this my uncle worked his passage on 
board as a seaman, to that land of promise. The only 
account my father had of his arrival in that country 
was from Doctor Nesbitt, who practised for some time 
as an eminent physician there, and visited his friends 
in the County of Leitrira, where he remained but a 
few weeks, as his wife and family remained in the City 
of Washington, anxiously waiting his return. The 
account he gave was that my uncle got married to the 
daughter of a Scotch merchant of the name of Douglas, 
who resided some distance from Washington — that he 
was accumulating wealth, and made a most respectable 
connexion on his marriage with Miss Douglas — that he 
heard of his mother's death from a INIr. Fallon, the kins- 
man of an ancient family of that name in the Barony of 
Athlone — and that he intended to assist his friends in 
Ireland in a short time. My father had another bro- 
ther, who died at Fairfield, of a malignant fever, in the 
24th year of his age. I never knew my poor father to 
mention this brother without changing his countenance, 
which he strove to conceal from his auditors or his own 
family, and his whole frame undergoing that panic of 
grief that one recognizes in the aspect of those Avho 
are suffering deep affliction and sensation for the loss of 
some worthy friend, which wealth, luxury, or amusement 
cannot remove. My only sister, adds my father, who 
married a farmer of the name of Magrath, in the vicinity 
of Mylough or Mount-Bcllew, died, after giving birth 
to three children. As it would only bring other melan- 
choly recollections to my mind, and as my brother-in- 
law married about nine months after my sister's prema- 
ture demise, I never saw any of that family afterwards. 
We were obliged, says he, (observing about my uncle, 
who died unmarried,) to leave our handsome cottage at 
Cappa, which was surrounded with beautiful shrubs 
that sprung up on the site of that large wood sold to 

pay off some family incumbrances, which were weigh- 
ing pretty heavy on the estate of Sir Festic Burke at 
the time. Then my brother — that brother, adds he, 
who was the companion and the participator of my early, 
innocent and rustic amusements, took the handsome 
farm of Fairfield, watered by a beautiful river, which 
proceeds from that deep moor that separates the Glinsk 
manors from the small patrimony of Mr. f'D'Arcy, a 
magistrate, and a respectable gentleman, allied to the 
ancient family of Kiltulla, in the upper part of this great 
and populous county. I think Mr. D'Arcy's rural resi- 
dence is called Newforest or Blackforest. Mr. James 
Kelly, a tanner by trade, possessed the house of Fair- 
field, and some fields adorned with tan-holes of no sweet 
odour ; when the wind blew westward, we felt it into- 
lerable. James Kelly was uncle to William Kelly, of 
Buckfield — a farm which they hold from the Earls of 
Clanrickarde ; as also to William Kelly, now of Gar- 
diner-street, who kept a spirit shop many years in that 
noble seat that Oliver Cromwell threw into the posses- 
sion of the Mahon family, called Strokestown. Our 
residence at Fairfield (considerably augmented since 
my early days) was delightfully situated on the banks 
of a murmuring rivulet. My father, a few years be- 
fore his death, said that the tenanti^ in the sur- 
rounding villages were draining and reclaiming those 
deep bogs -which inundate the adjacent pasturage, the 
fog of which swamps caused contagion and typhus 
fevers through the country. The people are getting 
prodigiously enlightened ; nor do I think that their pro- 
pensities are so vicious as they were some years back. 
For instance, said my father, how many heinous mur- 
ders have occurred in this country in my own recollec- 
tion, the like of which are now seldom to be heard of. 
At one time a whole family was murdered near Carrick- 
on-Shannon j among whom was a Mr. Lawder, the 


kinsman of the immortal Goldsmith, and the Croftons, 
of Moate, near Roscommon. Several murders were 
perpetrated by the notorious Anne Walker and her san- 
guinary husband ; they kept a public inn or half-way 
house at a place called Boxford — I believe part of the 
Coote estates, in the vicinity of Roscommon. In this 
den of murder, and rapacity for the goods and chattels 
of others, they perpetrated, unsuspected from their opu- 
lence, the most ruthless crimes ; when detected in the 
very act, from the cries of a gentleman in bed in their 
house, at two o'clock at night, the sanguinary husband 
got off in a beggar woman's apparel, and evaded being 
brought to justice for his dark offences ; but his infamous 
wife was burned at a stake near that old ruin of the 
Dillon family, about half a mile from Roscommon, 
the county town from which they take their title. — 
That Daly, who committed a rape on a girl of ten 
years of age, and, from the violence he used on so 
young an infant in putting his wicked desires into exe- 
cution, for fear, according to his own confession, that it 
would lead to a discovery, murdered her, and hid her 
under his bed, in which place she was found by her dis- 
consolate parents, kept a country shop near Cloughan, 
in the Barony of Athlone, and suffered the sentence of 
the law at the usual place of execution at Roscommon, 
in the year 1780. I knew his sister, a widow, named 
Madden, a respectable and industrious woman, who 
lived many years on the lands of Baslick, near Castlerea, 
in this county. Her daughter, an innocent young wo- 
man, was, not many years back, seduced by a pious 
Dignitary of the Church, not more than one hundred 
miles from the See-house of Elphin. Not only that : 
the Reverend Doctor took under his pious care the wife 
of a man well known in the Whip Club, of the name of 
Dalton. This is but an outline. 

Children, said my father, of the many revolting mas- 

sacres committed in this and the adjoining- counties 
within these few years back, I do not recollect any 
of them so heinous as the horrible murder committed 
on the body of young Mr. Bellew, at the great fair of 
Ballinasloe, and the chief of the gang his own domestics 
and dependents. Mr. Bellew was respectably connected 
sn the County of Galway, being lineally descended from 
Earl Bellew, as also allied to the house of Mount-Bel- 
lew, one of the first Catholic families in that county. 
He lived with his father, (as single gentlemen generally 
do in this kingdom,) at a beautiful seat, now in ruin, 
called Drum-House, on the road leading from the vil- 
lage of Creggs, on the Burke manors, to the Town of 
Tuam, a Bishop's See, both in that county. Young 
Bellew unfortunately accompanied his father to this 
celebrated meeting, well known as the October Fair. 
I think it was in 1786. Mr. Bellew got a large sum of 
money for fat cattle the two first days of this meeting, 
which his own cotters and the stable men of his house- 
hold saw him making up in the inn where he stopped, 
and which money they thought the young son retained 
in his possession ; consequently, a gang (about nine) of 
those fellows planned a scheme to induce the young 
gentleman to come to the stable where he kept his 
horses, about nine o'clock in the evening, saying that 
they Avould have a fascinating young woman to meet 
him. To this he agreed ; and to jog his memory, 
an infamous villain of the name of Greaghan, his oAvn 
stable-boy or helper, came at the appointed hour, and 
sent word up by the waiter that he was below stairs, 
and wished to see his young master. On Mr. Bellew 
receiving the message, he desired the waiter to order 
the man his dinner, which was accordingly obeyed. 
When the dinner was laid before the monster, who was 
bursting, like Judas, with evil thoughts, the maid who 
served him went in search of a knife and fork, some- 



times scarce articles at this great fair ; however, to 
her surprise, at her return, though only about a minute 
absent, Greaghan had the meat cut on his plate with a 
large knife commonly called a jack knife, and with which 
he murdered Mr. Bellew in a few minutes afterwards. 
Young Bellew had asked his father's permission to go 
and see the curious scenes at such large meetings, 
which gentlemen about his age (not more than twenty- 
one), are generally anxious to view. His father reluc- 
tantly complied, but not until one or two gentlemen 
who dined with them, and were enjoying themselves at 
their wine, interfered, by which the unfortunate young 
man was allowed to go out for a short time. He asked 
his father for some pocket money ; to which he com- 
plied in no pleasing terms, and threw him a purse across 
the table, containing some silver and sixty guineas in 
gold. On leaving the inn, Greaghan met him at the 
door, and conducted him to a lonely stable in a re- 
mote lane, within a few paces of the great River 
Suck, which moves in all its magnitude through part of 
this town, and empties its copious influx into the noble 
Shannon, about four miles from Dunlow, commonly 
called Ballinasloe, where the unfortunate Mr. Bellew 
entered this horrible den. He was conducted to a dark 
corner, in which one of those demons, named Cusack, 
was seated on a bundle of straw, dressed in woman's 
clothes. This villain (Cusack) was selected from the 
other gang to personate a female, in consequence of his 
feminine appearance, having no beard, being of fair com- 
plexion, and particularly as Mr. Bellew had no know- 
ledge of his exterior. Mr. Bellew advanced towards the 
young lady, as he thought, to embrace her and put his 
hands round her person ; but the reception he met for 
his caresses was a mortal stab of a large knife in his 
abdomen. He screamed, and called upon Greaghan to 
come to his aid 5 but the assistance he met with was 


the whole of the gang coming and stabbing him in va^ 
rious parts of the body. As he lay prostrate on the floor, 
even when dead, a young man, who happened to come into 
the stable at the moment, was obliged to give him three 
stabs, and take his oath that he would never divulge 
the secret. They rolled the body in some hay, tied it 
up in a sheet, and threw it into the River Suck. 

Amongst the murderers was a farmer's son of the 
name of Lyons, from the village of Croswells, on the 
Caullield estate near Donamore. Lyons was the only 
son, and what I may call a spoiled child, of respectable 
and industrious parents far above want, and how he 
could bring himself to be guilty of so atrocious and 
sanguinary an action, and to join such a group, who 
had no stake or dependence in the country, save the 
general lot of those serfs and peasants who possess no 
other means but their scanty earning from one meal 
to another — their residence a filthy, smoky hut, their 
companions a pig, a cat, and a-half starved mangy 
dog — some may have a cow, a goat or an ass, which 
is driven from the wretched abode of its nominal owner, 
(as it generally happens that the latter is more indebted 
to the rackrenter or landlord than the animal is worth,) to 
some barren moor or noxious marsh, apparently sinking 
as a swamp ready to swallow in its stagnated mire the 
skeleton, which, from its craving maw and the pangs 
of hunger, is obliged (not that any thing delicious 
is in the soil) to feed on its unwholesome weeds. 
I don't impute to the oppressed peasant or rustic 
that these miseries are solely caused by his not read- 
ing extracts from the New Testament; far from it, 
they spontaneously grow with his gi-owth : he is born in 
poverty' — to comfort he is a stranger; and, inundated 
in want and wretchedness, he closes his eyes in the arms 
of death upon a world that afforded him no other 
soothing consolation but ail the j)angs a^jd liortov that 


Siiiddleineii, rackreiilers, rapacious tithe proctoics, and 
the unceasing demands of the voluptuous absentee, can 
inflict upon a well disposed people. To these misfortunes 
the unfortunate Lyons Avas a stranger, as his parents 
were in comfortable circumstances, and possessed that 
state of mediocrity that they neither felt the pangs of 
keen distress nor the sudden surplus of overgrown 
wealth. The whole of this infamous gang who murdered 
the much and justly-lamented Mr. Bcllew were executed 
in the town of Galway, and their bodies hung in chains 
in the town of Ballinasloe for many months afterwards. 
In talking of the horrible murder of eighteen of the 
Bodkin family, by a step-son and a nephew, near Tuam, 
which gave to the perpetrators of that massacre the 
never-forgotten appellation of the " Bloody Bodkins" — 
the murder of Randal M'Donnell, Esq., by the noto- 
rious Captain Fitzgerald of Turla, in Mayo — the murder 
of Squire Reynolds of Litterfine, by the sanguinary and 
cowardly Kean of Newbrook, in the County of Leitrim, 
and many others, my father repeated a few days before 
his death, in 1812, with as much novelty as on the days 
they respectively occurred. My children, said he, my days 
in this world are coming to a close ; so far you have made 
me happy j poverty is no crime, let not your thirst for opu- 
lence and comfort ever cause you to be guilty of a base or 
contemptible action ; if you raise yourselves by your in- 
dustry, as I have vei-y little more to bequeath you than 
my blessing, I entreat of you never to leave yourselves 
in the power of your friends, much more your enemies, 
as many false friends and false prophets are abroad j 
therefore, be as wise as serpents and as harmless as 
doves ; don't disgrace the memory of your ancestors by 
any ignoble or ruthless action ; rather receive an insult 
than give one. These words from an aged and affection- 
ate parent made no small impression on my mind at 
the time, but from several circumstances that occurred 


since that period, they have been doubly impressed 
on it; more so, when describing the barbarotis and 
inhuman murder of my brother, at his residence near 
Castlerea in the County of Roscommon. I recollect one 
day when living at Fairfield the observations my father 
made about the Glinsk family. On vralking to the 
summit of Mount-Mary, he pointed to several green 
fields that were reclaimed in his time, which he said he 
seen covered with heath and brushwood ; as also to some 
deep pits that the late Major Waller of Rookwood sunk 
to get coals, but failed, by which he lost a considerable 
sum of money ; and added, that his gambling in London 
and Paris was the principal cause of his handsome estate 
being sold, the chief part of which was purchased by the 
humane and benevolent Mrs. Walcott, the sister of 
Judge Caulfield of Donamon Castle, who bequeathed 
the rents of those manors for charitable purposes, and 
with which the Gaol Infirmary and Charter School of 
Roscommon are liberally endoM^ed. When he came 
in sight of the cottage and garden wherein he was 
born, he seemed greatly affected and shed tears. After a 
pause of some time, " my poor mother," says he, 
" breathed her last on this spot where I now sit : how often 
my two brothers and only sister, now mouldering in the 
grave, sported at our innocent amusement round these 
ruinous walls : but why should I grieve ; what is this 
world but vanity, and the longest that lives must only 
consider it a dream. I have no reason to complain : 
I have good children, and I know if your mother sur- 
vive me that you will all endeavour to make her happy ; 
she is a worthy, humane woman, a virtuous exemplary 
wife, and a good mother. What would I not sacrifice, 
consistently with my salvation and the character of an 
honest man, for the welfare of my family; I have la- 
boured incessantly for their support, and would at this 
moment lay down my life for their happiness. As to 


the Burke family," added he, " the most powerful feudal 
lords at one time in this country — who possessed that 
Avide district of a beautiful and diversified vale, a land 
flowing with milk and honey — where is all their pomp 
and grandeur now? The auctioneer's bell ringing 
every other day to sell those manors that they possessed 
for eight hundred years. Nothing is certain (says he) 
in this uncertain world." 

The first of the Burkes that gained an inheritance 
in this country was Rickarde de Burgh, whose father 
accompanied William Duke of Normandy into Great 
Britain at the time of the memorable Norman Conquest. 
For some trivial misdemeanor or levity with the v.'ife of 
that puissant and illustrious Baron, Lord de Clifford, 
whose father signalized himself in the holy wars, better 
known as the sacred crusaders, and being in dread of 
the anger of that powerful General and exalted person- 
age, De Burgh, a name afterwards changed to that of 
Burke, (though very little intercourse then existed be- 
tween this country and England — at all events we did 
not sail by steam) — young Burke or De Burgh arrived 
from Wales, and, after wandering about some time, 
made his way into the province of Connaughf. 

Roderick O'Connor, the King of that principality, 
was in need of an experienced commander at the time, 
being then at war with that odroirs King, MacMurrough 
of Leinster, the father of the unfeeling seducer of the 
Princess of Brieffny, through whose intriguing means 
this fair Empire was brought under subjection to the 
British King. 

The armies of these mighty Chieftains, aided by all 
their feudal knights and vassals, met by appointment 
near Lanesborough, in the County of Longford, where 
a most sanguinary battle was fought and well contested 
on both sides at the commencement 5 the armies of Ro- 
derick suffered much and were ijl great consternation, 


which caused that monarch to make a precipitate retreat 
across a deep swamp, on which occasion he lo«t his 
crown : it was found by one Stafford, the ancestor of 
Thomas Stafford, Esq. of Portobello, in the County of 
Roscommon, on whom the Prince of Ardandrew, O'Fer- 
rall, at the request of the Connaught King, bestowed 
some land near Longford, which his respected descend- 
ants hold to this day. 

Burke displayed great valour in that battle, in which 
O'Connor was victorious, though thousands of his troops 
were slaughtered. But what endeared him most to the 
Connaught King was his gentlemanlike conduct in 
making excuses for his Prince M-hen accused of pusilla- 
nimity by some of the chieftains and petty princes of his 
territory, amongst whom M-as the Great MacDermott of 
the Rock, the head of the illustrious house of Coolavin, 
O'Hara of Tyreaghreagh, and O'Doud of Tyrally. Burke 
being chiefly instrumental to this triumphant victory, 
which signalized the arms and puissant honors of the 
Royal house of O'Conor Don, his Majesty made him a 
public promise, that, the first vacancy that occurred by 
the death of any of his Knights, he (Burke) should be 
placed in his castle, and the estates attached thereto, 
giving him at the same time an invitation to reside at 
the Royal palace as gentleman at lai-ge, and appointing 
him Colonel of the Legion of Honor. These great ex- 
pectations of young De Burgh caused him no small 
share of celebrity, which unfortunately turned to the 
basest conspiracy against an aged Knight of the name 
of O'Fenaughty, whose wife, a young woman, hearing 
of the great inducements held out to Colonel Burke, 
wrote him a letter, stating that she would have her old 
husband assassinated if he promised to marry her. — 
Whether De Burgh gave his assent is not on record ; 
however, the promise on her part was carried into exe- 
cution, as the unfortunate O'Fenaughty was most inhu- 


manly massacred Avhile walking in a small wood conti- 
guous to his residence. That castle is yet extant, and 
one of the oldest family residences, save Shane's Castle, 
in this kingdom ; it is well known (from its former hos- 
pitality,! cant say in them days, but in the days of the 
late and lamented St. George Caulfield,) as Donamon 
Castle, near Roscommon. 

When King Roderick was told of the barbarous mur- 
der of his friend O'Fenaughty, he wept bitterly, and 
expressed aloud in the presence of his Council and the 
Archbishop of Tuam, " O, God forgive me, a wicked 
sinner J this base murder was committed solely through 
my means, in making young Burke an oifer of the first 
knighthood vacant in this province. Go," said he to 
Burke, " enjoy the gift your valour deserves ; but if you 
were rapacious enough to be accessary to this base con- 
spiracy it will turn to thee a curse tenfold more than a 

Colonel Burke married the only daughter of the mur- 
dered Knight by a former wife, and the reprobate wi- 
dow was obliged to beg the country for support, held in 
the execration and contempt that so base and reprobate 
a character deserved ; abandoned even by her own re- 
latives, the O'Malleys of Mayo. The two sons by the 
daughter of O'Fenaughty divided their patrimony ; the 
eldest got that part called Glinsk, on which he built that 
old ruin called Glinsk Castle, now a terrific roofless pile, 
haunted by a colony of rats, situate on the banks of a 
small stream, a low swamp ; and the spike holes and the 
ruts of old age are inhabited by a clutch of rapacious 
vultures. The descendants of the younger Burke re- 
tained that moiety called Donamon till the days of Oliver 
Cromwell, when it was wrenched from the heirs of that 
house, with the chief of the Skeftington estate, called 
Kilbegnad, and divided between the Cootes of Castle- 
coote, and the Kings of Bovle, the ancestors of Lopd 


Lorton. The latter family sold their part to Counsellor 
Caulfield, afterwards Chief Justice of the Court of Com- 
mon Pleas, whose ancestors held these manors in our 
own times ; but is at present set to a grazier of the 
name of Armstrong, from Fermanagh. 

Sir Ulick Burke, Bart, sold the chief of the Glinsk 
estates some years back to the celebrated Counsellor 
Daly, commonly called, not Peter the Great, but Peter 
the Fool. His heiress married the late Charles Daly, 
Esq. of Dunsandle Castle, in the County of Galway, 
from whom she eloped a few months after with the 
humpbacked Earl of Kerry, who died at Hampton- 
Court, in the County of Middlesex, in 1816. All the 
Burkes, says my father, that you see scattered through 
this country, are descended from the Glinsk family ; and 
the first Rickarde Burke, who married that notorious 
and sanguinary woman, Matilda O'Kelly, a woman who 
personated her own father, the ruthless Chieftain of 
Mullaghmore Castle in the Barony of Athlone, in all his 
atrocities, and who was commonly called Noula Nami- 
doge, or Matilda with the Bloody Dagger, she and her 
three sons, commonly called Clanrickarde, or Rick's 
sons, laid Avaste the chief of the County of Galway, 
which manors are retained to the present day by their 
progeny, the Lords who derive their titles from their 
ruthless and blood-thirsty ancestors — as Clanrickarde 
and Portumna Castle; however, says he, so far from at- 
tributing the atrocities of their sanguinary sires, or the 
wicked deeds of former ages, to the amiable and illus- 
trious Earls who inherit these ill-gotten demesnes at 
the present time, I have the greatest respect for and the 
highest opinion of their humanity and many virtues. 

Sir Festic Burke, adds he, married his kinswoman, a 
daughter of tliRt noble house (alluding to Clanrickarde), 
but they had no issue. Her eldest sister mamed Lord 
Dillon of Costello — her second, Robert Dillon of Clon- 


brock — and the youngest, John Kelly of Castiekelly, 
M'ho was no Brunmwicker, but a rigid Papist. So much 
for the Brunswick Secretary of that Popish house, sink- 
ing with moors and marshes, called Castiekelly, near 

" The late Rick Burke's marriage with Miss Blake of 
Ardfry, or the elopement of their vicious daughter with 
a son of the house of Fitzgerald, is not worth my notice, 
so I pray you w^ont mention them." This was my fa- 
ther's last remark about the Baronets of Glinsk Castle. 

Pointing to Castiekelly, which lay some distance off, 
he observed, " You have in view all that remains of the 
Chieftain's greatness ; though even tha,t same is wages 
of apostacy, that family swayed the sceptre of this dis- 
trict for centuries ; but the downfall of Aughrim and 
Athlone put an end to their ambitious and overbearing 
pretensions." Foolish Denis Kelly and his wool-jobbing 
at Ballinasloe, as also his imprudent marriage with a 
Miss Armstrong, impoverished that noble family. It 
was his own fault or he might have been married to the 
heiress of Lisduff, who was afterwards Countess of Alta- 
mont, and which aided nuich to the fortune of the 
Browne family. 

Mount-Talbot, says my father, situated on the beau- 
tiful Suck, was given to the widow and children of the 
unfortunate Colonel Talbot for his good intentions to- 
wards the Prince of Orange while within the garrison of 
Limerick in 1689. When Sarsfield discovered Talbot's 
treachery, and the latter saw death was unavoidable, 
he committed suicide in his cell, though having no other 
instrument with which he could commit the act but the 
prong of his buckle. This family is descended from the 
same ancestors as those of the ancient house of Mala- 
hide in Fingal, who are a junior branch of the illus- 
trious Earls of Shrewsbury in Salop, at one time Dukes 
of Tyrconnell in Ireland, and claim the same preced- 


ence here as the Dukes of Norfolk in tlie British Peerage. 
The demesnes of Mount-Talbot and Castlekeily join, 
though the former is in the County of Roscommon and 
the latter in the County of Gahvay ; both divided and 
beautified by the River Suck, which flows majestically 
and rapid in this neighbourhood. 

The handsome seat of the Cheevers family is in this 
neighbourhood 5 their progenitors were Viscounts 
Mount-Leinstor, and resided in Naas Castle in the 
County of Kildare, of which they Mere deprived in that 
memorable year of unprecedented plunder and ruthless 
rapacity, 1688. 

I am obliged, adds he, to say something of the Dillons, 
who, on their apostacy, Avere created Lords of Clon- 
brock. One circumstance connected with this short- 
lived family happened in my own time, and which I re- 
gret having heard no instance of before, that is, a father 
living to see his successor of age. He had a long con- 
test some years back about the Earldom of Roscommon, 
but was as strenuously opposed by the late Viscount 
Dillon, of Costello, in the County of Mayo, who had just 
renounced Popery to get a renewal of his outlawed and 
ancient titles. The late Pat Dillon, who married Miss 
Begg, of Beech-Abbey, near Carrick-on-Shannon, 
claimed and got the title, for which he was solely in- 
debted to the Lord of Lough-Glynn, one of the most 
accomplished Peers that ever graced the high titles of 
that noble family, and who was maternally allied to the 
Earls of Lichfield in Staffordshire. 

Mount Bellew, the noble seat of Michael Dillon Bel- 
lew, Esq., maternally descended from the noble house 
of Nugent, of Riverston, is within a few miles of Clon- 
brockj it is, without flattery, one of the most magni- 
ficient country seats in this kingdom, embracing sub- 
lime and spontaneous boons, aided by the unrivalled 
taste of the late Mr. Bellew, who took no small pains 


to make this residence one of the most elysian, pictu- 
resque, and diversified in the kingdom, adorned with 
lakes, vista views, pleasure grounds, and as noble a fa- 
mily mansion as this empire can boast of. 

I asked him about the Trenches of Ballinasloe, and he 
seemed reluctant in his answer ; after a short pause, he 
said he did not wish to say any thing about them. 
They are a haughty clan, and some what litigious since 
fortune favoured them, or at least since the sanguinary 
revolutions that distracted this unfortunate country 
rescued them from obscurity; under other circum- 
stances they might, like their ancestors, hide in the prin- 
cipality of the Dutch Prince. Notwithstanding being 
residents here these many years, deriving their support 
from the soil and the natives of this country, like the 
Hyena, nothing could tame them ; they were always 
ready to side the bad and unrelenting governments 
that oppressed the people : the more penal the disgrace- 
ful codes that passed into a law, the more apparently 
they enjoyed it. Previous to the franchise being granted 
to Catholics in 1793, the heirs of that house, in com- 
pany with Eyre of Eyre-Court, returned themselves for 
this county, which then w^as- a close borough ; the 
boon of 1793 they opposed, as they knew that they 
would be hurled from the representation, and so they 
were, of this great county, whose freemen are more 
worthy than to be any longer represented by illiberal 
and self-aggrandizing bigots. I cannot say much adds 
he for these revered sages who fill that honorable sta- 
tion at the present day ; but they appear to be some- 
what more liberal in their views than the Trenches ; in 
many instances they thought by their influence, (I wont 
say by the bribery of a hut washed up with a bucket of 
lime, and a small garden,) to prevail on some to become 
Protestants ; in this they failed, save very few who would 
become any thing for the same wages. The connex- 


ions they formed were wortliy of sucli an alliance, so 
that this race is as austere, coercive, and as obnoxious 
to the natives as the first possessor of that family who 
got as his reward the verdant plains in and about Gar- 
bally. The first of that family raised to the peerage was 
the late Baron Kilconnell, who joined the memorable 
auction of 1800, and took his title from the ruins of 
an old Popish abbey. So distressed were the mighty 
peers that they had no other foundation to ground their 
title upon but that wrenched from the ancient house 
of Clancarthy. All I have to add, says he, is, that I 
never knew one of the name esteemed in this country, 
much more these of Dunlow, or the Ashtowns, who 
took pleasure in keeping the natives in their present 
state of degradation and oppression by opposing Eman- 
cipation ; and as a reward for their unrelenting hosti- 
lities, there is not one of the pious group nor hardly 
one connected with them that does not enjoy a sinecure 
at the expense of the country; however, says he, I think 
the Trenches are much on the decline as to having that 
influence with which these Cromwellian and Williamite 
aristocracy since they got into power swayed, under the 
cloak of loyalty ; the whole country is incensed and ar- 
rayed against these self-created monopolists, who have 
ruled and governed this kingdom to their own advan- 
tage for upwards of one hundred years, and sold it lat- 
terly to the highest bidder for pensions, titles and pri- 
vate emoluments, rich Bishopricks and large sinecures. 
In this he alluded to the union of 1800 as a gene- 
ral observation. There are several Kellys, or O'Kellys, 
in the district of Croffin and Athlone, but none who 
claim more feudal honors and respectability than 
O'Kelly of Tycoola, who, with the ancient family of 
Turrock, are acknowledged to be the lineal descendants 
from the great and illustrious O'Kelly of Aughrim 
Castle. Many others are considered spurious illegiti- 


mates, or descended from unacknowledged and remote 
junior branches ; some of them became apostates to 
enrich themselves at the expense of the lawful heirs, 
and others to obtain leases under rich Sees. 

The O'Fallons, of Ballina, in this neighbourhood, are 
a respectable old family, and are connected Mith the 
noble house of Roscommon, and many others of equal 
claim. The unfortunate dispute which occurred some 
years ago between this family and one of the sons of 
Mount-Bellew, in which the latter was killed, caused 
the most poignant grief in the minds of both families — 
the victim of this duel having been most universally and 
deservedly lamented. But, adds my father, it is lament- 
able that such sanguinary meetings are allowed j and 
indeed, says he, I think the demon of darkness is aiding 
and assisting the parties who promulgate and sanction 
such barbarous and disgraceful exhibitions iu a Christian 
country. Duelling, by which so many valuable lives 
are sacrificed, destroys the peace of many benevolent 
and highly respectable families during their career in 
this world ; and in no instance more so than on the pre- 
mature demise of the justly-lamented Mr. Bellew, of 

The unfortunate Colonel Dillon, of this neighbour- 
hood, at his residence called Johnstown, met with no 
better end, but under different circumstances from that 
of young Bellew. Mr. Dillon, I must confess, like 
many persons moving in high life, set a bad example to 
his own serfs and domestics, by keeping a kept mistress 
in his house, by whom he had a family, and I believe 
married while labouring under his wounds. This rab- 
ble, who lived on his bounty, conspired to take his life, 
and attacked him in bed at night, where he received 
such mortal and deadly blows as caused his death in a 
short time after. The chief of the gang was executed 
in the Town of Roscommon, I believe in 1805. Colonel 


Dillon was descended from a junior branch of the noble 
l»ouse of Clonbrock, a good soldier and a kind land- 
lord. His son recently married the daughter of Sir 
Richard St. George, Bart., whose brother was most 
barbarously murdered in the same neighbourhood in 
1816. In consequence of so many ruthless atrocities of 
this nature having occurred in this barony (Athlone), 
it is one of the last districts 1 would recommend any 
peaceable family to reside in. 

I asked my father which were the most ancient and 
respectable Kellys in this barony. His answer was that 
the head of the Protestant aristocracy of that name were 
those of Castle-Kelly, Cargins, Kiltoom, Mucklin, and 
Churchborough ; the Catholics are those of Tycoole, 
Turrock, Scregg, and Ballymurray. As for the Barony 
of Athlone, says he, I wish to leave it as God left the 

A lady in this barony, whose name I will not mention, 
deserves, for her base treatment to her own daughter, 
to be exposed. The daughter disgraced herself in get- 
ting pregnant by some low menial in her father's esta- 
blishment, and then her cruel mother locked her up in 
a garret room till starvation put an end to her sufferings 
in this world. Scenes of this kind, adds he, are revolt- 
ing to the feelings of those who have the fear of God in 
their hearts, but those who have not are capable of 
feeling no remorse for any thing base or degrading. 
We have very few instances of this kind in Ireland : the 
only subject that has any connexion with the latter, that 
I recollect, is one horrible circumstance which occurred 
in the lower part of this county, (alluding to Galway,) 
not many years back, and that in a family highly con- 
nected. The daughter of a country squire was unfor- 
tunately enamoured of the son of a rustic farmer, con- 
venient to her mother's residence ; her respected father 
paid that debt to the grave which we must nil yield our 


frame to one day or other. It appears, said he, with 
tears of compassion in his eyes, that the unfortunate 
youth, who was only nineteen years of age, was seduced 
by the young lady to whom I allude to come to her bed- 
room window, which looked into a small pleasure gar- 
den, on the ground floor, after the family had retired to 
rest. However, the young lady's mother got a hint of 
what was going on, which she kept a profound secret 
from her daughter, as well as the rest of the family, till 
it was time tor every person in the house to retire to 
their different apartments. She told her daughter that 
she must change her bed for that night, as she wished 
her eldest son, who was not well, to occupy her bed 
room. The unfortunate daughter seemed at the moment 
to labour under the most painful sensation, and with no 
small reluctance was obliged to yield. AW the doors 
were locked, and not one of the domestics were allowed 
to leave the house. The mother seemed to watch her 
daughter, and never left her for a moment. The lights 
were put out, and the ruthless and sanguinary son took 
his station to commit as base a murder as ever disgraced 
the annals of this or any other country, for a crime, it 
seems, not committed, and of which he himself was so 
often guilty. Any thing but chastity, I might add, was 
inherent in the prodigal and debauched family from 
which he was descended. As for his mother, I know 
but little of her obscure pedigree. But I pass her by, 
and let the dead rest ; her spirit is fled, and she knoAvs 
long before this if she were guilty or accessary to the 
premature death of the unfortunate boy, who fell a vic- 
tim to the subtlety and wantonness of that imperious 
family. When the night was somewhat advanced, the 
foolish and imprudent rustic came to the window of 
the apartment where this young lady generally slept, 
and threw a little sand against it. Her brother rose 
immediately and threw up the window, to which the 


young man unfortunately advanced, thinking, as we 
must suppose, that all was right, and that no other but 
the young lady was going to receive him. But, alas 1 
he was much and fatally deceived, as the young lady's 
brother thirsted for blood, and spilled it profusely. He 
took a deadly aim at his unsuspected victim with rather 
an over-charged blunderbuss, and in consequence of the 
object being so close, blew his body into atoms. The 
mutilated carcase remained where it fell, till carried 
away next morning by his disconsolate friends. The 
affliction of the parents and friends of the deceased may 
be better conceived than described. Unquestionably, 
from what I understand from a person who knew the 
unfortunate youth from his birth, he was as %vell-dis- 
posed a boy as ever lived, and as free from vice. It 

seems the seduction was solely Miss 's own doings, 

through the instrumentality of a female domestic, who 
was continually bringing messages backwards and for- 
wards. In a few days after the cruel death of the 
young man, who met an untimely grave through 
the wanton inti"igue of this vicious young woman and 
her haughty friends, this ruthless-minded brother and 
his frail sister went to Galway, where he agreed with a 
sea captain to take her to one of those colonies in the 
Northern Ocean ; and the sooner some others of the 
same breed are sent there the better for the good of 
female morality. I could be more explicit, adds he, on 
this subject, but, to spare the feelings of some of the 
great ones, I pass it by for, the present. 

He gave me a long history of the Abbey of St. John, 
near Athlone. The noble Abbey of St. John the Bap- 
tist, says he, was endowed in the days of St. Patrick, the 
Apostle of Ireland. The situation was worthy of such a 
seminary ; it was built on that lofty eminence, now in 
the possession of Mr. Hodson, called the Manor of St, 
John, which he refined, or corrupted from having too 



much Popery, to that of Hodson's Bay. The situation 
is most enchanting and diversified : a dechvity on one 
side, and on the other the noble and copius Shannon 
water and its stupendous cliffs. Here nature has been 
more than prodigal in her boon on the verdant and 
Elysium plains in and about the sacred ruin, at one 
time, with all due solemnity and in the days of pure 
Christianity, dedicated to the greatest man born of wo- 
man, John the Baptist. It was for centuries the sanc- 
tuary wherein prayers were offered, from the rising of the 
sun till it disappeared from this hemisphere to another 
region. But, alas ! it has long since been converted 
into a den of thieves, and nothing remains of its former 
magnitude, admirable and costly architecture, but the 
archetype, and one or two lofty spires, occupied by a 
few daws and some vultures. The annual pattern, held 
here on the 25th of June, is generally attended by a 
great concourse of people. The concavity of the roof- 
less edifice is converted into a burial ground — a privilege 
at one time granted only to the shrine of some very emi- 
nent persons of the priesthood, or some noble families, 
who, by their worth and long claim to feudal honours, 
or some liberal endowment, obtained that boon to which, 
under other circumstances, they dare not presume, nor 
would be admitted. But since the days of the cele- 
brated Walter Devereux, the favourite gallant of the 
Virgin Queen, who was the first who made inroads on 
the monastic manors and pillaged the church in this 
kingdom, every plebeian and obscure upstart assumed 
the privilege of establishing his family vault within the 
sacred walls of this sanctuary ; — even several Protestant 
families, who were bound by their solemn oath, and 
who were prodigiously well paid for taking the said 
oath — or, I may add, a long catalogue of oaths — as 
nothing else would qualify their pious souls ; nor should 
any person be so absurd as to accuse their revered 


memories of any sordid view — the monopoly of the 
goods and chattels, or to move the landmark of their 
neighbours, — though they did believe, and were bound 
to do so, in the idolatry of their predecessors ; and the 
remnant that the sanguinary sword of the ruthless 
assassin, or the hidden dirk of the rapacious freebooter 
and the intruder, spared of the Catholic faith; yet, 
strange to say, the chief of those pious Protestants, or 
Knoxonians — as many of them followed and retained the 
sacred creed and sanctified edicts of the evangelical and 
orthodox Jack Knox, who perverted not the land of 
promise, but the land of fanaticism, Scotland — allowed 
their mortal and tawny shrines to be stretched m the 
same grave with pagan Papists. In several of the 
monasteries these pious triumphs are idolized; but I 
call them sanguinary revolutions, which threw into 
their unexpected possessions the extensive inheritance 
of the right owners. 

However, I will pass by these observations for the 
present, to give an abridged sketch (which undoubtedly 
would be a ludicrous subject for Cruikshank) of the 
multiplicity of novel scenes to be witnessed in and about 
the noble ruin of the Convent of St. John, at the annual 
meeting, on the 25th of June ; it is within a few miles 
of the strong garrison town of Athlone, in the County 
of Roscommon. At first view, or on ascending the ver- 
dant and conspicuous hill, on which thousands are con- 
gregated together to offer their devotion to St. John, a 
stranger, not acquainted with the peculiar hilarity of 
the Irish peasantry, would undoubtedly think the whole 
group were labouring imder a complication of mental 
affection and insanity, to which the human frame is so 
subject. But far from it : I could assure him, said ray 
poor father, I never, in the whole course of my life, 
bought a dearer bargain than I did at this very pattefn. 
The country simpletons who meet here for their holy- 


clay amusement are generally mixed with all sorts and 
siZeSj and particularly the knowing ones from Athlone, 
which, from the cheapness of its markets, is always 
filled with an eccentric group of sharpers Who, say they, 
(the countrymen,) can outdo an old soldier ? Athlone 
is well known as the jiensioners' garrison. Here you 
see one man selling his pig, which is roaring all the 
time ; having been brought up as one of the family, and 
seeing itself under the transfer bond of conveyance, it 
sheds salt tears at parting with the friends and associates 
of its early days ; it feels as much^as a Foundling Hos- 
pital boy would at parting with his County Wicklow 
nurse. Among the other commodities for sale are goats, 
jack asses, horned cattle, young fillies, flax, yarn, apples, 
gingerbread, a prodigious quantity of young scallions, 
and salt herrings, which are profusely given (by way of 
collation) by the young swains to their sweethearts. 
After the repast is over, dancing commences on a plat- 
form, arranged for the purpose, in several booths, in 
which those of mature years join, as well as the beard- 
less youths and lasses of the adjacent country. Here 
you behold a group lamenting and panegyrising their 
deceased friends — enumerating their many virtues, and 
the loss their posterity sustained in their premature 
demise — and cursing their fate for having been so 
unfortunate as to survive them. As this is a general 
mart for doing penance, you behold several on their 
bare knees, with long beads suspended fi'om their fin- 
gers, and their lips moving, counting their Rosaries, 
dedicated to the Baptist, and beseeching his intercession 
that their manifold sins might be forgiven. When you 
pass these scenes, you meet a batch of riotous tinkers, 
jumping over sticks, adjusted at a certain height from 
the surface ; the man jumps first, and the bride, with 
apparent diffidence, next. This qualification legalizes 
the marriage, and the happy pair are led in triumph. 


with music playing and horns blowing, to proclaim the 
union through the whole assembly. These, with many 
other ludicrous exhibitions, save a few skirmishes be- 
tween different clans, such as the O'Kellys and the 
O'Mooneys, put an end to the great and riotous pattern 
of St. John the Baptist. 

The noble family of Dillon, well known as the Lords 
of Costello Gallen, in Mayo, and the Dowell family, have 
large estates in this neighbourhood, with several beau- 
tiful and romantic islands on the River Shannon, which 
forms into one of the most enchanting and picturesque 
inland oceans, not to be equalled in any part of Europe ; 
it is well known as Loughree, and separates the Counties 
of Longford, Westmeath, and Roscommon. The Hod- 
son family, who reside here, are maternally allied to the 
celebrated and immortal Goldsmith ; and the '' Deserted 
Village," on which he was so prodigal in praise, is just 
in view from the noble but ruinous Abbey of St. John. 
The Shannon at this point is considered about fourteen 
miles broad. 

The family of Mr. Kelly, in the neighbourhood of St. 
John, at a rural seat called Killtoom, is highly respect- 
able ; as also the Dowell family, at an ancient seat called 

Screggs, the admired residence of Edmond Kelly, 
Esq., a short distance from the great road leading from 
Athlone to Roscommon, deserves to be particularly men- 
tioned. Mr. Kelly is descended from a junior branch of 
the house of Turroch ; and though his patrimony is not 
extensive, he has managed his limited rent-roll with 
judicious but gentlemanlike economy ; so much so, that 
he keeps a respectable equipage, a hospitable table, and 
is able to relieve many meritorious but indigent objects 
in and about his rural habitation. Mr. Kelly married 
Miss Lambert, of Milford, in the County of Galway, the 
daughter of John Lambert, Esq., by the amiable and 


accomplished Miss Burke, the youngest daughter of Sir 
John Burke, Bart., of Glinsk Castle, by Miss Netter- 
villc, of Longford, near Mount-Bellew. This honourable 
union brought Mr. Kelly connected with the Baronets 
of Glinsk Castle — the Burkes of Cleranbridge, and the 
Burkes of Meclick — the Lamberts of Haggard, Creg- 
clare and Castle-Lambert — all in the County of Galway. 

Ballymurry, the handsome seat of Captain Kelly, 
which commands a delightful view of the Shannon, 
adds much to the diversified sceneries in this neigh- 

Moate-Park, the ancient seat of the Murray family, 
after which it was called Ballymurray, but of which they 
were most unjustly deprived by the sanguinary revolu- 
tions into which the unlamented house of Stuart 
plunged this unfortunate country, is for upwards of a 
century in the possession of the Crofts, or Crofton fa- 
mily, to which, having become extinct from male issue 
some years back, the family of Sir Hugh Crofton, of Mo- 
hill, in the County of Lcitrim, claimed a hereditary 
right : but Edward Lawder, Esq. of Kilmore, near El- 
phin, who was maternal nephew to Sir Edward Crofton, 
as also the kinsman of the esteemed late Oliver Gold- 
smith, of the Elysian Auburn, on the banks of the Shan- 
non, in Westmeath, and whose father was barbarously 
murdered in that county, changed his name from Law- 
der to that of Crofton. He got possession of the house 
and estates of Ballymurray, and after a long litigation 
between him and the other branches of the Croftons, he 
married the daughter of an attorney of the name of 
Croaks or Croker, by whom he got a large fortune, 
which enabled him to pay a bench of lawyers, (who ge- 
nerally flock about a man of fortune or expectations on 
these occasions,) and some family incumbrances ; being- 
eased of these pestiferous tormentors, he offered himself 
as a Candidate for the County of Roscommon, Avhich in 


these days was nothing better than a close borough be- 
tween the Cootes of Castlecoote, the Kings of Boyle, and 
the Sandfords of Castlerea. Sir Robert King, after- 
Avards Lord Kingsborough, the new Baronet, (Sir Ed- 
ward Lawder Crofton,) and Mr. French of Frenchpark, 
appeared on the hustings as Candidates. Sir Robert 
King being the popular candidate, the contest lay be- 
tween French and Lawder Crofton : the dispute ran 
high between the parties, and some old spleen was re- 
vived, in v/hich French was upbraided of a gross fraud 
said to have been committed by one of his family while 
treasurer of the county. The ripping up of these old 
sores in a public Court-house, threw such a stigma on 
the character and so wounded the feelings of the 
Frenches, that the dispute could not be settled without 
a hostile meeting ; consequently the unfortunate George 
French of Endfield, not long married at the time, sent 
a message to the new Baronet of the house of Lawder. 
They met at the back of tliat old ruin called the Castle 
of Roscommon, where, on the first shot, the unfortunate 
George French was mortally wounded. What added to 
his torture was the amputation of his leg from the thick 
part of the thigh, which was afterwards carried to. a 
small Church, not quite finished at the time, a short dis- 
tance from the house of Frenchpark, where it remained 
but a few days till the body of the unfortunate George 
French was closed with it for ever in the same grave. 
This, said my father, did not end their misfortunes, for two 
other brothers of the house of French met with a prema- 
ture death, being drowned, during a dreadful storm, on 
their passage from Parkgate to Dublin, and one of them 
only a few days married to the rich heiress of the house 
of Cloughan, in the barony of Athlone. This threw the 
property into the possession of Arthur French, of Do- 
minick-street, wine merchant, the only surviving bro- 
ther, and not long married to a Miss Magenis of the 


North. To return to the Croftons, adds he, they were 
any thing but happy. King and Lawder Crofton were 
returned at this election, after a great deal of human blood 
inundating the county. Even the old pump and jambs 
of the gaol did not escape the uncontroulable mob that 
joined the heir of MoatePark. "Any money," said the 
ringleader of the lawless mob of the town of Roscom- 
mon, aided by a number of the barony boys, " for the 
head of any of the Toobeheen men," alluding to the 
Frenchpark freeholders. The late Sir Edward Crofton, 
Bart, the eldest son of Lawder Crofton, married the 
daughter of the late Earl of GalloAvay, of Gallowayshire, 
in Scotland, sister to the Marchioness of Blandford, an 
amiable wife and a good mother. The unfortunate Sir 
Edward got rather irritated in consequence of being 
obliged to sell a portion of his estates in the County of 
Limerick to Baron O'Grady to pay off some family in- 
cumbrances, and for a useless and distempered stud of 
horses purchased at one of the embarrassed auctions of 
the late Duke of York. Sir Edward was fond of Royal 
blood, but never was man so completely taken in in his 
English mares. These annoyances preyed on his mind 
to such a degree, as also some exorbitant expenses he 
was at in building that noble mansion called Moat- 
house, (which I believe he never occupied,) that his. 
mind could no longer bear those mischances and dis- 
appointments. Being haunted by some evil thoughts, 
after kissing the M^hole of his lovely family, and coming 
in from the pleasure grounds where he had been walk- 
ing, to know if the children had dined, and being an- 
swered in the affirmative, he walked into the school- 
room, and, melancholy to relate, after bidding them 
adieu for ever, shot himself in a small grove a short dis- 
tance from his own house. So rash an act in so honor- 
able and respected a gentleman astonished many, and 
plunged a large circle of friends and relatives into a state 


of grief and affliction easier to be conceived than de- 
scribed. His amiable widow. Lady Charlotte Crofton, 
and her young family, at present reside in London, 
where they occupy a splendid mansion in Montague- 
square. Moate Park is delightfully situated ; it is about 
two miles from the town of Roscommon, and is adorned 
with a magnificent mansion, recently built, surrounded 
with groves, enchanting vista views, some beautiful 
ponds, and a diversified country which combines all that 
is sublime and beautiful. 

It would be unkind in me, in " My Sketches" of such 
parts of this country as I have seen, not to say a few 
words of the handsome and justly admired seat of the 
Mapother family, in the immediate neighbourhood of 
Roscommon. I am maternally allied to this family ; my 
great-grandmother, Eleanor Mapother, was a daughter 
of that house, of which I will give a sketch in another 
page, when tracing the genealogy of my maternal kin- 
dred. Kiltevan, the residence of Henry Mapother, Esq., 
is called after the antique monastery from whose inmates 
it was wrenched during the Viceroyship of the cele- 
brated Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex, at one time the 
favourite Lord of the Bedchamber to the revered Queen 
Bess, and whose head came to the block for incon- 
stancy, but perhaps chiefly through the subtlety of the 
notorious Lady Nottingham. 

The first of the name of Mapother who came into this 
empire accompanied Lord Essex in the capacity of page, 
dressed up in such fine trappings and gold as we see 
Master Charley Gore, Master Cosby of Stradbally-hall, 
or Master Sewell, in our times. But 1 have to inform 
the reader that Master Mapother had a more endearing 
claim upon my Lord Essex, and that his consanguinity 
with royalty was not by any means inferior to that o^ 
tha celeba'ated seducer of Lady Astley, of the County ot" 


Norfolk. Though the sons of Kiltevan are not honoured 
with those mighty titles that grace the illegitimate 
armorial escutcheons of the former Dukes of Richmond, 
Grafton, St. Alban's, and many others that the licen-, 
tiousness of the times sent forth as incumbrances on 
the country ; yet, it must be confessed that their deport- 
ment and urbanity, since they became possessed of a 
moiety of the abbey lands of that great ruin which 
stares you in the face on passing the road from Lanes- 
borough to Roscommon, as if still impeaching the 
memory of those, many years gone to meet their reward 
in another world, for the barbarous and inhuman atro- 
cities unrelentingly committed within its walls, are 
highly to be commended. These lofty havocs and reclin- 
ing steeples, which have outlived centuries, continue 
extant, to stigmatize with execration the odious memory 
of their pilferers and assailants. However, to finish 
my account of the heirs of the Mapother family : — 
They undoubtedly did not join in the horrifying enor- 
mities carried on in extirpating the unfortunate inmates, 
though they accepted part of the spoil j and even to 
this day they retain the faith of their ancestors — the 
apostate Queen Bess only excepted. It must be sup- 
posed that they took the auction of the church property 
in their time into their serious consideration, and said 
to themselves, as persons who have no hereditary inhe- 
ritance in the country, we may as well accept and 
participate in those robberies as the plebeian and 
rapacious adventurers who followed (at a craving dis- 
tance) in the train of the Lord of the Bedchamber, and 
the long catalogue of other sanguinary Governors which 
the foul and easterly winds blew into this unfortunate 
and persecuted kingdom. It is acknowledged by those 
, who are not strangers to this family, that they are 
descended from one of the illegitimates of her Majesty 
Queen Bess — whether by Lord Essex or Lord Leicester, 


I cannot say ; but it is obvious that the unfortunate and 
basely murdered Prince of Breffny has no affinity to 
this family, as Captain Mapother was a grown boy at 
the time that the annals of Elizabeth's reign Avere justly 
sullied with the ruthless and barbarous murder of the 
unfortunate youth in St. James's Palace. She loved 
him ; but he had not the precaution to dissemble, and 
to throw that veil of innocence over their intrigues and 
levities that culpable and glaring immorality carries in 
its train in the present age. After Essex laid waste the 
chief of the Province of Connaught, he engrossed almost 
all the Church Lands for himself or his friends ; amongst 
whom was Mr. Mapother, who got a large tract of 
land, bordering on the River Shannon, in addition to 
the Manor of Kiltevan, of which the heir of that house 
was deprived in the days of the Usurper, and another 
moiety in the sanguinary Revolution of 1688, which 
was bestowed (for signal services and by grace especial) 
upon Corporal, not Casey, but Sandes, who, it seems, 
set an example by crossing the Shannon, in the autumn 
of 1689, during the memorable siege of Athlone. The 
progeny of Sandes retained those manors till within a 
few years back, when they were sold by auction, in 
Dublin, and purchased by the late Edmond Corr, Esq., 
of South-Park, in this county, to pay the .extravagant 
expenditure of the last heir of that unfortunate family, 
well known as Sheriff Sandes. This Sandes paraded 
the country afterwards as a common mendicant. At 
one time, said my father, I recollect him to ride such 
another half-starved pyeball as Goldsmith describes in 
his account of Fiddlehack, an old horse he got in 
Cork to carry him home, after gambling all that was 
saleable on his person in that great seaport, a few 
months previous to his proceeding to London. The 
Mapother family are connected with the Lanes, Earls 
of Lanesborough— the ancient family of the Skef- 


fingtons, of -Kilbegnad Castle, near Donamon, now 
extinct — and latterly with the O'Conors of Ballinagare, 
who claim their lineage from the illustrious and royal 
house of O'Conor Don. It is by a connexion with the 
Skeffington family that I am remotely allied to the heirs 
of the Mapother family. The reader may be assured 
my mind is free from egotism when I mention any thing 
of my own friends, or of those with whom I may be 
connected by the ties of affinity. 

About two miles from Kiltevan is Hollywell, tlie 
noble seat of the Gunning family. This enchanting, 
and at one time truly hospitable residence, gave birth 
to that excellent and generous Irishwoman, the justly 
lamented Duchess of Hamilton, afterwards Duchess of 
Argyle, and to the late General Gunning. Bryan Gun- 
ning, Esq., the father of the gallant General and Lady 
Argyle, accumulated a large fortune, which the pro- 
digality of his son at the gambling table, and latterly 
his seduction of the Avifc of an opulent brewer, who 
resides in the Borough of Southwark, near London, 
almost totally exhausted. General Gunning's only 
daughter, the celebrated Miss Gunning, to whom the 
world is so much indebted for the valuable production 
that issued from her highly cultivated mind, married 
Major Plunkett of Kinnard, in this county, by whom 
she had a large family of both sexes. She retired from 
the world, a few years previous to her lamented demise, 
to educate her children, at Long Milford, in the County 
of Suffolk, where she died, to the great grief of her 
husband, children, and a numerous circle of the first 
nobility in the United Kingdom. The remnant of the 
Gunning estates, now in the possession of Gunning 
Plunkett, Esq., is considered to be worth about £2000 
per annum ; and in a few years, when the mortgages of 
General Gunning are redeemed, will amount to nearly 
£6000 annually. Several manors of the Gunning estates 


were purchased by an opulent weaver of the name of 
Mitchell, who kept bleach mills j of which Castlestrange, 
and some other lands near Roscommon, now in the pos- 
session of that family, form a part ; the late Lord Hart- 
land had another moiety ; and a portion was held by an 
eccentric of the name of Blakeny, well known as old 
Blakeny of Holly well, near Roscommon. 

Derm, the handsome seat of Henry Corr, Esq., is in 
this neighbourhood ; as also Rocksborough, the seat of 
a Mr. Irwin, who is connected with the Veseys of the 
County of Galway, and the Fitzgeralds of Clare. 

Beechwood, the seat of Daniel Ferrall, Esq., and 
Martinstown, the ancient seat of the Davis family, with 
many other rural villas, surround Roscommon, which 
makes it a pleasant and delightful neighbourhood, and 
where a man of moderate fortune, from the cheapness 
of labour and the adjacent markets, could live in respect- 
able style upon a sum that would hardly keep an old 
maid in wigs, paint, and false bottoms or corsets, in 

Carraroe, the beautifiil seat of Joseph Goff, Esq. joins 
Roscommon. Mr. GofF was many years treasurer of this 
county, in which important situation he gave general 
satisfaction as a gentleman, a man of honor, and possess- 
ing the purest integrity ; he married Miss Caulfield, the 
eldest daughter of Colonel Caulfield, of Benown, in the 
County of Westmeath, by whom as yet he has had no 
issue. His only brother, the Rev. Mr. GofF, the respected 
Rector of Tallaght, in the County of Dublin, is his heir- 
at-law. There is nothing remarkable in the town of 
Roscommon : it is built on one of the finest plains in 
Europe, or perhaps rather in a valley — on one side bor- 
dering on a marsh, which is abundantly supplied with 
water of the purest and most salubrious flavor. The 
main street is wide and crowded with respectable shops j 
a spacious court-house, and the remains of one or two 

gaols built on the Dillon estate, now in the possession 
of the Earl of Essex. The Castle of Roscommon was 
built in the fourth century by Charles 0'Conor,the ille- 
timate son of Roderick King of Connaught, by a maid- 
servant of his palace at Ballintobber, of the name ot 
Moran. She was remarkable for her exemplary deport- 
ment, though she yielded to her Royal master; and 
what made it more heinous in the sight of the Church 
was, her living in a state of adultery with the King, he 
being at the time married to the daughter of O'Neill, 
Prince of Ulster, but by whom he had no issue. The 
Queen being informed that one of the Maids of the 
Court was pregnant by his Majesty, got into a great 
passion, and sent for a Scotch witch to consult her if 
it could be possible to cause an abortion or protract 
the birth. The infamous witch informed her Majesty, 
that by knotting nine hazle rods and fastening them to 
the gable end of the castle, until they were cut asunder 
this Garouge Moran (which was an appellation she got, 
according to the Irish language, owing to her being low 
in stature or a kind of dwarf,) would never be delivered 
of her painful burthen. Whether the witchcraft of the 
reprobate fiend had effect or not I cannot say ; but one 
thing must be credited with no small astonishment : that 
the vmfortunate Garouge Nevorane, or Moran, when 
her accouchement took place, which was in a wretched 
hut some distance from the Castle — having been obliged 
to fly from the vengeance of the Queen and Clergy, who 
were incensed at her for bringing disgrace on, and set- 
ting an immoral example to the inhabitants of the dis- 
trict and the King's household, it being a rare thing in 
those days to hear of bastardy or adultery, and such as 
were known to be guilty of this offence were obliged 
to appear bareheaded and barefooted, wrapped in a 
white sheet, in the Church, go on their knees, and ask 
God's pardon, the Priest's forgiveness^ and beseech the 


whole congregation to pray to the Throne of Mercy to 
forgive them their ahominable sins — the unfortunate 
Garouge Moran suffered incessant pains for nine days, 
during which period the child's right hand was sus- 
pending from the womb. The matron who attended 
her might not be as expert or sober — (I say sober, as 
they seldom, only on cases of necessity, di'ink any thing 
but the double distilled essence of gruel) — as the group 
that is to be seen every day at the Rotunda expecting a 
call, or a recommendation from Doctor Cantwell as an 
experienced person that understands the sweetening of 
coral. But to proceed to my account of the birth of 
Charles O'Conor, afterwards King of Connaught: — 
When every experiment failed, and that the lives of the 
mother and child were despaired of, the old matron 
who attended her took it into her head to go to the cruel 
and jealous Queen, and to sound her Majesty respecting 
the abject and forlorn situation of poor Garouge, under 
the semblance of soliciting aid. The Queen was taking 
her usual walk in a verdant lawn opposite her palace 
when the old matron accosted her Highness in the most 
flattering language, begging her Mightiness to send 
some relief to a poor woman that was after being con- 
fined. " What is the woman's name ?" said the Queen : 
*' Garouge Moran, please your Majesty/' replied the 
simple-looking matron, " who has been delivered of a 
fine boy." This news so enraged the Queen, O'Conor, 
that in a frantic fit she took a hatchet, ram to the gable- 
end of the palace, and cut the nine hazle rods into bits, 
cursing the infamous Scotch witch who deceived her. 
Poor Garouge was immediately relieved from her pains, 
and brought forth the celebrated Charles O'Conor, who 
had a red hand, by which he got the name of Cahel 
Crough Dergh, or Charles with the red hand. While 
reaping oats he heard of his father's death, threw away 
his hopk, and came to the palace, where he was received 


with acclamations and crowned by the people as King of 
Connaught. From Charles is descended the illustrious 
heirs of O'Conor Don and O'Conor Roe; the former 
are descended from the lineal branch of royalty, who, 
on the extinction of the house of Cloonalis or Ballin- 
tober, are lawfully recognised as the heirs of the house 
of Ballinagare — and the latter from a junior branch of 
the O'Connors of Castleruby or Tomona; both seats are 
in this county. On the O'Connors having been expelled 
from one of their Castles (Roscommon), in which that 
family built the noble monument of antique architec- 
tecture, well known as the Abbey of Rosconnnon, in the 
days of Queen Elizabeth, (it is now in ruins,) the Manor 
and Castle were given to the Lord of Kilkenny-West, 
in the County of Westmeath. Though those Lords (the 
Dillons) were Catholics, they did not scruple to accept 
and join in the base frauds and open robberies committed 
on the ancient nobility of this kingdom at the time, 
under the malicious pretext of not considering the Virgin 
Queen the lawful heir to the CroAvn of these realms. 
Undoubtedly the chief of the Irish nobles refused 
swearing allegiance to a Queen that both Houses of the 
British Parliament passed Bills to exclude, as being a 
bastard, and born while the laM^ful wife of the King was 
residing in the vicinity of London, and whose mother, 
Anna Bolleyn, was found guilty — I wont say on the 
clearest evidence, but by a Jury of her own country- 
men, for there was not one Irishman among them — 
of committing fornication with menial servants and 
strolling musicians ; and in pursuance of that sentence 
she was publicly executed. However, I leave such 
tragic and disgraceful recollections to more competent 
judges to treat upon, and return to the Dillons, of 
whom I Avill say a few words, for the information of the 
reader. The Dillon family, who are of French extrac- 
tion, accompanied one of the sons of William, Duke of 


Normandy, from France into England, near the end of 
the eleventh century j but from the turbulent state of 
the British Empire at the time, though zealous and 
rapacious adventurers, their patron found it almost im- 
possible to give either of the two brothers a permanent 
inheritance in the vicinity of the Court. Kent or Sus- 
sex they preferred, being the most tranquil districts; 
but as their wishes could not be complied with, the 
Prince allowed them, as Gentlemen at large, an honour- 
able stipend about his person. The eldest brother of 
these Dillones or Dillons died unmarried j the youngest, 
who held a high post in the army, married the daughter 
of the Mayor of Salisbury (de Clifford), in the vicinity 
of which city the family resided till the heir of their 
house accompanied King John (so celebrated for grant- 
ing Magna Charta) into Ireland. During the residence 
of the Monarch in this kingdom, he stopped at his 
splendid Castle, partly built in the sea, and surrounded 
with all the picturesque scenery, that, in spite of the 
sanguinary revolts, civil wars, base assassinations and 
conspiracies, turned the most verdant and delightful 
country under heaven into a seditious arsenal of rapa- 
cious plunder for one party, while the other. Hindoo- 
like, who reclaimed the soil, suffered the most horrify- 
ing privations, rapine and massacre, at which, all (savt^ 
a reckless heart) must recoil with those poignant feelings 
of sorrow for the havoc, misfortunes, and epidemic con- 
tagion that raged, and levelled those who escaped tlie 
dagger of the unrelenting murderer and the intruding 
freebooter, with those in the same grave who fell in 
defence of their common country, habitation, property 
and family. 

However, to return to King John. While at his 
Castle at Carlingford, in the County of Louth, attended 
by Dillon, De Courcy, and other nobility of his Courf, 
and to which the whole of the Irish Princes and No 



bility were summoned to pay their homage to the Brl-' 
tish Monarch, the great O'Neill refused to acknowledge 
his authority ; in consequence of which John bestowed 
the title of Earl of Ulster upon his favourite. Lord De 
Courcy, whose progeny are now Lords of Kinsale, in 
the County of Cork, At this time Monsieur Dillone or 
Dillon got married to the daughter of MacMahon, 
Prince of Down, and the brother-in-law of the great 
MacGuire, Prince of Fermanagh. The wife of Dillon 
got for her dowry the extensive manors called Castle- 
Dillon, now in the possession of the Molyneux family ; 
and a more woi'thy or honourable individual never 
graced the escutcheons of that illustrious and esteemed 
family than the present inheritor. Sir Capel Molyneux, 
Bart., whose wide demense comprises the chief part of 
the County of Armagh. The various revolutions that 
sd frequently occurred and distracted this country ex- 
pelled the Dillons, at the time that the heads of Mac 
Mahon and MacGuire came to the block, on pretence of 
being suspected Papists, and not loyal to her sacred 
Majesty Queen Bess ; but on the arrival of Essex as 
Lord Deputy, they got possession of the abbey lands of 
Kilkenny- West, in the County of Westmeath, from 
which they expelled the persecuted Friars, with as much 
cruelty as we read of the sanguinary Rochfords, in the 
annihilation of the noble abbey of Multifarnhaiu, in later 
years. We must, however, make some excuse for the 
Rochfords, who were, what is well known in that county, 
Cromwellian Protestants — a class of fanatics more mer- 
ciless in their revenge and rapacious in their thirst for 
the goods and chattels of their neighbours, than their 
more liberal brethren, who retain (not like the pious 
Bishcip Magee) the Thirty-nine Articles, established by 
Bishop Burnet and others, as a rule of faith for the Pro- 
testant Liturgy of our Established Church — a Liturgy 
I revere, as holding many excellent precepts and sacred 


admonitions to aid us to obtain salvation. Another 
branch of these Dillons got part of the abbey lands of 
Screen, called Lismullen, near Tara, in the County of 
Meath. The government of Lord Essex was disgraced 
by holding out such base inducements and rewards to 
his adherents; amongst whom there were few could 
exceed the unrelenting and barbarous Dillons, although 
professed Catholics, in all the inhuman rapine and 
oppression that disgraced their sanguinary time. While 
one son, with various ti'oops of brigands, ransacked and 
laid waste Westmeath and the suburbs of Athlone, the 
other made himself master of Roscommon and the chief 
of Mayo. What clemency could the natives expect, 
•with General Bingham on one side, and Colonel Dillon 
on the other ? Many of them starved in the deep moors 
and high mountains of Mayo, while others were immo- 
lated from less torture by the sword or the gibbet. — 
Dillon of Loughlin, commonly called Lord Dillon of 
Costello, kept a regiment of horse and foot at his own 
command, and ready at his nod to fly through the coun- 
try with fire and sword, disinheriting such country 
squires as were not able to give battle for their own 
protection, and engrossed the whole of their property 
to himself, with the exception of a small stipend he 
allowed such villains as were abandoned enough to do 
any thing base, and lead the van for the rest of the free- 
booters to put their atrocities into execution. Among 
the property that fell into his hands in Mayo are the 
abbey lands of Ballyhaunus, at one time the greatest and 
richest Augustinian Friary in that district — Bacon, Urler, 
Kilmavee, and several others in the neighbourhood of 
Swineford, Gallen and Cloonmore. Though these depre- 
dations were committed about two hundred years back, 
the successors of those Lords, even in our own times, not 
being satisfied with making themselves masters of the 
fee-simple, also retain the tithes of the Church. From 


the house of Loughglin several other families have de- 
scended ; some became extinct, others fell into obscurity, 
and very few of their progeny retain much landed pro- 
perty in that province — the Lords of Loughglin only 
excepted in the present day. 

The most respectable Dillons arc those of Bracklon 
or Belgard Castle, in the County of Dublin ; and the 
Dillons of Lung are of the same stock. These of Lision, 
Dillon's-Grovc, Hollywell, Farmhill and Mullin, are 
descended from junior branches. The Dillons of Cloon- 
brock, Mount-Dillon, Cappa, Johnstown, Coolbuck, 
and the Baronets of the holy Roman Empire in Meath, 
are immediately descended from the Lords of Kilkenny 
West, in 1622 created Earls of Roscommon. 

The father of Wentworth Dillon, the celebrated 
Historian, was the first apostate in this family. The 
unfortunate man was much embarassed at the time, 
and he bartered the faith of his ancestors for a renewal 
of some outlawry which was promised him by Lord 
Strafford, who was the godfather of his son, and after 
whom he was called Wentworth ; but the unfortunate 
Strafford did not live to see his promise carried into 
execution, as the ruthless Ormonde and others appeared 
at the bar of the House of Lords against him, and ac- 
cused him of those high crimes and misdemeanors 
which brought his head to the block : he was soon after 
followed by his royal master, commonly called Charles 
the Martyr, who suffered the same fate. As to the 
Earl of Roscommon, his death was premature and awful : 
he was killed by a fall on a narrow staircase in fhe old 
town, commonly called the Irishtown, in the city of 
Limerick. An old pensioner who came to his Lord- 
ship's assistance, asked him if he were departing this life 
a resigned Protestant ? His Lordship squeezed his hand, 
from which the judicious inference was taken that Lord 
Roscommon died a pious Protestant j however, the man 


died from the effects of gluttony, commonly called 
simple drunkness. We cannot consider any great hap- 
piness to be in store for those who depart this life in 
that statCj it being denounced by the Church one of the 
seven deadly sins. This was the first and last Pro- 
testant Earl of Roscommon. 

The seat of the Reverend Oliver Carey, HazlcAvood ; 
Mount-Prospect, the residence of Major Browne ; Rock- 
savage, the residence of the Ormsby family ; and Cas- 
tlestrange, the magnificent and justly- admired seat of 
Thomas Mitchell, Esq. all in the vicinity of Roscom- 
mon, deserve being particularly mentioned as com- 
manding the highest panegyric from the writer of the 
elysian and rural beauties with which the vicinity of 
the highly-improved town of Roscommon abounds. 
Roscommon is situate about eighty miles west of 
Dublin, in a beautiful country, the soil of which is 
luxuriously productive of all the necessaries of life, em- 
bracing these natural gifts of which very few countries can 
boast, having many local advantages, and being within 
a few miles of the great River Shannon, and only four 
miles fi'om the beautiful and copious Suck ; both navi- 
gable rivers, adapted for every kind of factories, flour 
and|bleach-mills, which would be considered in England, 
and other populous countries, no small importance in 
rendering paramount advantages by commerce, public 
trade, wholesome beverage, and in beautifying in its 
serpentine course, a country upon which heaven has 
profusely bestowed so great a gift and so inexhaustible 
a source of all these boons that diffuse manifold bless- 
ings on a country, as unquestionably Ireland is ac- 
knowledged to be, enjoying and participating in no 
small degree in these great favours so bountifully 
lavished on this district, and on no part of it more 
so than on the verdant and luxuriant plains of 


Roscommon. The late Mrs. Walcott, a daughter of 
Mr. Caulfield, of the house of Donamon in this neigh- 
boured, bequeathed liberal donations for charitable pur- 
poses in this town, which is chiefly expended on the 
paupers of the County Gaol and Infirmary. 

Castlecoote on the River Suck is within four miles of 
Roscommon ; it is one of the first manors obtained by 
that Cromwellian family in this country. Colonel Coote 
persecuted the natives with the same malignant vehe- 
mence that his kinsman. General Coote, did in the revo- 
lution of 1688. From this family are decended the Cootes 
of Coote-hall near Boyle, the Cootes of Belamont Forest 
in the County of Cavan, the late Sir Eyre Court, so cele- 
brated for his victories over Tippo Saib, (and other 
circumstances, which, for the sake of his noble relatives, 
I wont mention,) the late Lord Castlecoote of Leopards- 
town, in the County of Dublin, and Sir Charles Coote, 
Baronet, of Ballyfin, in the Queen's County; those who 
took a lordship from the old ruinous Castlecoote, are 
extinct. The late Baron of that title, who was a cele- 
brated pugilist, died without issue, and his disconsolate 
widow, the daughter of Sir Joshua Mcredyth, Bart, was 
recently married to the Earl of Milltown, of the County 
of Wicklow. 

Tubberavaddy, for many years tlie scat of the Ormsby 
family, also adorned by the beautiful Suck, is within two 
miles of Castlecoote. These manors, in former ages, 
were in the possession of the family of Skefiington, well 
known as the Skeffingtons of Kilbegnad Castle, in this 
neighbourhood, from which the illustrious Earls of 
Massareene, of Massareene Castle, in the County of An- 
trim, are lineally descended. 

Colonel Ormsby possessed himself of the exten- 
sive estates of Tubberavaddy, during the time that the 
country was convulsed by the sudden and sanguinary 
revolution of the odious and execrable usurper ; he and 


Paul Davie?, of Cloonshanvillej were governors of this 
county, and amongst their statutes and mild edicts, was 
that of putting persons travelling without a pass to in- 
stant death. For this purpose a gibbet was fixed in the 
lawn fronting the splendid mansion built by a former in- 
heritor, but then converted into a den for Ormsby and 
his merciless and worthless brigands, well known in 
these days of rapine and sanguinary atrocities, as Orms- 
by's bloody hangmen, or body guards. The ancient 
Britons, in our own times (the memorable 1798), in their 
sacred crusades through Wicklow, Wexford, and some 
parts of the County Down, were not by any means guilty 
of half the barbarous massacres (though many an old 
woman cursed them for giving a short swing or a 
finishing pill to their son or husband,) as the unrelent- 
ing monsters under the control and command of Colonel 
Ormsby of Tubberavaddy. On his coming to reside at 
his new residence, his first act of grace was to order 
these freebooters, and at whose head he ranked himself 
as commander-in-chief, to attack and surround the 
abbey of Fuerty in this neighbourhood, put the inmates 
to death, and possess themselves of all that M'^as portable 
in and about the sacred edifice. Here was a scene that 
almost baffles those witnessed by Captain Clapperton or 
poor Mungo Park, if they were alive to relate them. The 
convent was full of aged and feeble friars, who fled 
from other parts, in consequence of the persecution and 
fanaticism of the times, when neither life, chastity, re- 
ligious vows, nor sanctity, was the least protection j 
when the parent was inhumanly butchered at the 
head of his own table, surrounded by his innocent and 
youthful family ; when the wife and the daughter were 
torn from the husband and the brother, and made the 
victims of the most brutal and heinous passions, to 
gratify the concupiscence and lustful desires of these 
fiends of hell, extant in the persons of a drunken 


and irreligious soldiery. However, to end my account 
of the cruel and barbarous murders committed under 
the command of the mighty Cromwellian (Ormsby), at 
the abbey of Fuerty, where upwards of one hundred 
aged clergymen were immolated, to the no small exulta- 
tion of the perpetrators of so abominable and so detest- 
able a crime, I ask the reader, was, what is generally 
termed and recorded as the cruel Irish massacre, any 
thing like this ? I say no. With respect to the Irish 
massacre, much as I abhor such barbarity, it occurred 
when the inhabitants of this country were not so en- 
lightened as they are in the present age, and when their 
passions were excited by a long and merciless persecu- 
tion, and from the inroads of low and rapacious robbers, 
genteelly termed intruders, the very dregs of the aban- 
doned, and of all that was infamous and notorious in 
such great towns in England, Scotland, and many parts 
of the morose and morbid Dutch settlements, as volun- 
teered to eradicate the native Irish, and possess them- 
selves, under the ludicrous handicap auction of the 
spoils, not of war, but the most voracious and blood- 
thirsty robberies that ever disgraced the days of Nero 
or Caligula. In this predicament, suifering all the com- 
plicated misfortunes, privations, and cruel rapine that 
ever were felt, and indeed unjustly, by the inhabitants of 
any country, was Ireland plunged during the execrable 
and excruciating days of Oliver Cromwell and his tor- 
turing agents. As to the abbey of Fuerty, not a soul 
ever escaped the conflagration ; and Colonel Ormsby, 
even without the pretext of a conscript from the mock 
judges in higher authority, established his claim to the 
manor as a reward for exterminating Popery. Of these 
he possessed himself, as well as the manors of Grange, 
Glan, the abbey lands of Tulsk a borough town, with 
many others, in addition to that ancient and noble seat, 
well known on the banks of the Suck as Tubberavaddy. 


The grandson of Colonel Ormsby, well, or rather 
notoriously, kno^\^l as Ribbard-Nagligernagh, far ex- 
ceeded his grandfather in rapine and the most unre- 
lenting barbarities on the inhabitants of this province, 
from the terrific exterior of his armour, long spurs, 
steel cap, decorated with various war-like instruments, 
suspended from all parts of his reprobate person — such 
as pistols, scimetars, bosom and side daggers, dirks, and 
a swinging broad sword about a yard and half long, 
mounted on a large black charger, with a long tail, big 
ears, a prodigious head, and a voracious open mouth, 
girded with no small quantity of leathern straps, and a 
heavy burden of the cumbersome trappings such as 
worn by the Cromwellian troopers in those days. From 
the gingling of his accoutrements, he got the appella- 
tion of Ribbard- Nagligernagh, which, according to the 
English language, is Robert with the gingling tackles. 
When the neighbouring rustics heard of his being 
Papist hunting, they generally made their way to the 
woods and deep moors with which the neighbourhood 
of Tubberavady, Glinsk, and Mount-Mary abounds. 
Robert Ormsby was a member of the Hell-fire Club, as 
also Member of Parliament for his own rotten borougli, 
(another Penryn) called Tulsk, a wretched, deserted, and 
straggling village, incumbered with a dark melancholy 
ruin, the spoils of the ruthless Ormsbys themselves : the 
chief walls, and the chapel, now converted into a bury- 
ing ground, is extant, and occupied by a few vultures, 
one or two screech-owls, and, in consequence of its being 
contiguous to a small stream, to which the generality 
of noxious reptiles are partial, a dangerous colony of 
rats. The last morning that Robert Ormsby, who was 
an only son, passed at the romantic Tubberavaddy, he 
witnessed the execution of three unfortunate brothers, 
the sons of a poor widow, who lived no great distance 
from the famed mansion which became noted as being 


liis residence. Their names was M'Clabby, and their 
only crime was meeting the monster, Robin, before 
breakfast. Amongst his edicts and injunctions was 
the well-known proscription, that any person meeting 
him in his public walks before breakfast hour, should 
forfeit his life, by instantaneous death. Amongst the 
victims, which were many, were the three M'Clabbys. — 
Their unfortunate, aged, and widowed mother, hearing 
of their awful and melancholy situation, ran from her 
cabin, fearless of the character and sanguinary extermi- 
nation of this vile demon in human form — the rope was 
adjusted round her sons' necks — they were on their 
knees, and surrounded by a troop of his guards; she 
threw herself prostrate before Ormsby, praying that he 
would not put her sons to death ; but all was useless ; 
the three brothers Avere hanged beside each other. The 
mother viewed the tragic scene with apparent uncon- 
cern, till her youngest son, aged about sixteen, began 
to work strongly in the pangs of death, at which she 
exclaimed, in a loud voice, " Son of God, I consign into 
thy hands the spirit of my three sons, and I invoke thy 
vengeance on the perpetrator of so cruel, so sanguinary, 
and so unjustifiable an act against thy omnipotence, 
and against all laws human and divine : vengeance and 
justice is thine, and through thy great example, O Lord, 
I forgive my enemies." The mother of Ormsby, who 
Stood in a window, and the daughter of the mercenal"y 
and ruthless Tyrrell of Tyrrellspass, hearing the piercing 
language of the disconsolate wido\A', were, for the first 
time, struck with compassion, as the unfeeling mother 
was, without exaggeration, from her own bad council, 
worthy of so base a son : she even expressed her regret 
at so rash and vindictive an act, but her remonstrances 
were useless. Robin, as he was called, set off for Dub- 
lin to attend a summons from Lord Luttrell, who was 
Secretary to the Hell-Jire Club -^ but on reaching the ad- 


mired hill of Lucan, for centuries the manor of the 
Sarsfield family, his horse, coming in contact with some 
loose stones, threw the monster, where he lay to rise no 
more, thus putting an end to the life of one of the most 
cruel tyrants that ever outraged the laws of God and 
man, or persecuted an unoffending people. His name 
is never mentioned in the County of Roscommon but 
%vith execration and horror. 

On the demise of the unlamented Ribbard Nagliger- 
nagh, a junior branch of that family, the Ormsbys of 
Grange in this county (which manor has been recently 
purchased by that celebrated money-lender called the 
Irish Jew, Jack Ferrall, of Bloomfield,) became heirs of 
the large estates of Tubberavaddy. Far from being pos- 
sessed of the vindictive disposition of their predecessor, 
they displayed every kind of good feeling and fellowship 
towards their neighbours and tenantry ; however, their 
prodigality brought the chief of these manors, obtained 
in the days of rapine, sacrilege and sanguinary atrocity, 
to the hammer ; and, save the narrow patrimony of the 
verdant glen about four miles from the town of Roscom- 
mon, has passed into strange and more economical 
hands. Counsellor Ormsby who was knighted, and well 
known as a most respectable gentleman in Ely-place, 
was descended from this family, as was Captain Ormsby, 
whose widow keeps a respectable boarding-house, dur- 
ing the seasons, at Bath and Cheltenham, also the Go- 
vernor of the Four Courts Marshalsea in Dublin, and an 
old maiden lady who recently died in Sackville-street, 
and bequeathed her no small hoard to the wife of a foot- 
man, who gained some ascendancy over her mind, of the 
name of Geoghegan, and the mother of John Geoghe- 
gan who absconded a few months back after committing 
forgeries to no small amount on the Bank of Ireland, 
and for whom a large reward was offered; but the 
dandy apothecary evaded justice, and is now living in 



comfortable circumstances in the United States. His 
mother, who, unexpectedly, was raised from trucking 
about in a noisy kitchen, to which the mild woman — 
for surely she is far from being vulgar ! — contributed in 
no small degree, is now, bless our stars ! enjoying the 
luxury of a carriage j and the city cavalcade and fa- 
shionable equipages of the metropolis are adorned with 
all that old age and long service, added to the list of 
superannuation, of a bending vehicle of antique exterior, 
well known to shopmen as part of the moveables of the 
late Mrs. Ormsby, now occupied by her amiable and 
accomplished successor, Mrs. Ormsby O'Geoghegan, of 
the old Mall in the City of Dublin. 

About one mile from Tubberavaddy is the village of 
Athleague, the ancient seat of the Lyster family. The 
late Mrs. Rumble, the rich heiress of that Cromwellian 
family, after the death of Captain Rump, or Rumble, was 
smitten in her old age — an age far beyond the gay years 
of the Virgin Queen, which Lord Leicester tells us was 
sixty-three, when her Majesty was in the height of her 
amours ; but Lord Essex and he differs, as the latter 
says that her Majesty was then crooked in her mind as 
well as in her virgin body ; but Mrs. Rumble far ex- 
ceeded that age, as she was sixty-nine, when smitten 
with the manly form of a shopkeeper in Dame-street, of 
the name of Talbot, in whose house the old lady took up 
her winter quarters. Mr. Talbot's good sense led him 
to think that the old woman was only doating, when her 
folly and weakness was such as to prompt her to pro- 
pose marriage to a man, such as he considered himself 
to be, about forty years younger and so much below her 
in family claims and inheritance. Mr. West, the bro- 
ther of the Alderman (not of Skinner's-alley, but of 
Skinner-row,) who was shopman or partner in the 
house of Mr. Talbot at the time, hearing of the old lady's 
property, offered himself to her notice, which soon ter- 


minated in that memorable union, which, indeed, as- 
tonished many. 

I knew, says Mrs. O'Fegan of Pill-lane, old Alderman 
Truelock, of Capel-street, whose marriage caused no 
small merriment, when, in his grey-headed years, he 
took it into his head to marry a tall young woman with 
a pair of rolling black eyes. At this time the oXAJirelock 
was seventy-six, but in a fit of jealousy, for w^hich he 
had not the smallest foundation, he attempted the poor 
woman's life, and when he missed fire, he took another 
Truelock of his own make and blew off his skull. Not 
so with poor Mother Rumble : she had every reason to 
be jealous of Master West, and who could blame a 
beardless boy to be disgusted with an old, infatuated wi- 
dow of seventy, though she settled the whole of her pa- 
ternal patrimony upon him to the prejudice of her own 
needy relatives — several of these Lysters in the barony 
of Athlone, from which the wife of the revered Baronet 
of the Black Rock, and many other respectable person- 
ages, claim their lineage. 

Mr. West, on his happy union with the widow Rum- 
ble, changed his name to that of West Lyster, under 
which we find him gazetted as a Magistrate of the 
Counties of Galway and Roscommon, " the first of the 
Skinner-row family, though ranking high amongst the 
Davy M'Cleerys and the Judkin Butlers of the Crooked 
Building," observes Biddy O' Flanagan, "that ever was 
appointed quorum in the diversified principality of the 
great O'Conor Don." Mr. West enjoyed very little peace 
while a resident on the Lyster estates in the County of 
Roscommon. The Lyster family, united as they are with 
the Kellys, who are the leading gentry or aristocracy 
of this district, saw the unequal match of quite a 
beardless boy, the son of a mechanic who raised himself 
by his industry, and, to rate him at the height of his 
opulence, only a shopman or partner with Mr. Talbot 


himself — ^granting that shopkeepers or tradespeople iii 
this country assume, by a thousand degrees, more con- 
sequence than they do in Great Britain, and giving them 
a long catalogue of the revered and puissant lineage 
from which they claim their descent, either in the igno^ 
ble descent of the usurper, or smelling the fragrant lilies 
of the Dutch Prince ; or perchance, on their apostacy, 
denying their affinity with Popery, or being allied to the 
O'Dorans, O'Morans, and, though last not least, the 
O'Phelans, as, bless our stars ! we find one of the last 
name so high in the Church, that he has frightened from 
their former haunts one or two old vultures from the 
once Popish steeple of Armagh. However, it must be 
confessed, that the infatuated Mrs. Rumble robbed 
her own relations of their birth-right to enrich a 
boy of neither family or fortune. I respect the Wests 
as worthy, industrious mechanics, but they were by 
no means an equal alliance for the Lyster family. — 
Perhaps the reader will say it was a love match, wherein 
such little boys as young Master Grady might be in- 
duced to throw away his satchel and take a trip to 
Gretna Green to undergo the awful ceremony of the 
connubial ties by a drunken blacksmith, which, in the 
eyes of the public, might bring contumely and censure 
on both parties. This was not the case with Mrs. Rum- 
ble and her husband. Master West ; he was old enough 
to know (for he was twenty-four) that the old woman of 
seventy had a large fortune, which, by all the forms of 
law, he took care to secure to himself: she, the weak- 
minded old lady, was bending towards the verge of 
the grave, in which her body was placed in a few years, 
I believe months, after making the young shopman one 
of the happiest men born. What husband could be blind 
to the many perfections of such a fascinating model as 
the esteemed Charles Phillips described the Widow 
Wilkins, at the time that poor Peter Blake was expir- 


ing, not for herself, but a certain stipend (£600 a year) 
that the Government allowed her in lieu of her old Sur- 
geon, in whose arms the gallant General Wolfe ceased 
to breathe. Mr. West was more fortunate than Lieute- 
nant Blake, though Mr. Blake had a higher claim to re- 
spectability, being nearly allied to my Lord Bloomfield, 
and others who grace the peerage. Mr. West had not 
been long a Magistrate until he involved himself in law 
with a riotous character of the name of Kinsella, well 
known about Mount-Mary and Castlekelly. This noted 
disturber was leading a lawless mob to meet another fe- 
rocious faction — such as generally congregate to cause 
a tumult in the fair of Athleague. Mr. West Lyster, as 
a Magistrate, and I believe in right of his wife lord of 
the manor, interfered to suppress the disturbance, and, 
in a rash moment, fired a pistol shot, with a view, we 
must suppose, to intimidate Kinsella, whom he wounded 
severely in the cheek. I would be the first to panegy- 
rise any Magistrate for exerting himself to put down 
disturbances at public meetings ; but without reading 
the Riot Act it is madness to fire at any individual 
amidst hundreds of persons, all moving through and fro. 
Some gentry, who were not so vehemently in love with 
Master West as the infatuated Mrs. Rumble, backed, iC 
is said, this Kinsella, which put Lyster West to some 
expense before he got himself out of the scrape. How- 
ever, this did not end his troubles nor the anxiety of 
the old lady, who fell in for no small share of cen- 
sure for her folly in her dotage. He seduced a Miss 
Kelly, I believe the daughter of Mr. Kelly of Buckfield, 
and, after the Counsel on both sides had abused each 
other to gratify their clients, and analyzed some love let- 
ters, which, for their immorality, should have been long 
hence destroyed, the Roscommon Jurors awarded this 
victim of adultery and seduction only five hundred 
pounds. This ends my Memoirs of Mr, Rumble and 


Master West Lyster. I wish to observe, however, that 
I do not by any means censure Mr. West for marrymg 
the old woman to enrich himself — the blame is solely 
attached to her own unlamented memory. 

Rookwood, the ancient seat of the Waller family, is 
within one mile of the post-town of Athleague ; it is 
delightfully situated on the banks of the Suck, and 
commands a most diversified view of the romantic and 
lofty Mount-Mary, whose magnitude, though of easy 
access to its fertile summit, is adorned with verdant 
fields, some scattered villages, and the beautiful villa of 
Coll Dillon, Esq., which adds no small attraction to the 
picturesque scenery in and about Rookwood. This has 
recently been the residence of Christopher TaafFe, Esq., 
of Woodfield, in Mayo. His frail wife (Miss Honora 
Burke, of Glinsk Castle, and maternally allied to the 
Blakes of Ardfry,) thought the latter seat too remote 
from good society, and prevailed on her indulgent and 
fond consort to purchase Rookwood, from which she 
eloped (though the mother of four children by Mr. 
Taaffe) with Lord William FitzGerald, of the house of 
Leinster. By her improper conduct she outraged the 
law of heaven, by living in a state of adultery, for the 
sake (as we must suppose) of a vain and empty title, 
plunged a most amiable and highly respectable gentle- 
man and his children into the greatest affliction, and 
brought disgrace upon a large circle of the first families 
in this kingdom. Mr. Taaffe got six thousand pounds 
damages against the seducer — a poor pittance indeed 
for so base a disgrace, and the odium it brought on a 
family so highly connected. Every body in the habit of 
reading the police reports must recollect the outrage and 
battery of Mrs. Taaffe on her aunt, the Dowager Coun- 
tess of Erroll, in which many of the Saints of St. Giles's 
were concerned. She attacked Lady Erroll, says an 
eye witness, to get possession of her daughter j on 

which occasion, it being a family quarrel, a large fac- 
tion of the most ferocious Connaughtonians in Drury- 
lane and St. Giles's, congregated on the Hampstead 
road ; however, after a severe contest on both sides, the 
Scotch Countess, (though a gallant leader of the Ardfry 
forces,) the Glinsk rustics, under the command of my 
Lady TaafFe, gained the victory, and the poor infant 
was carried in great triumph to the house of Lord Wil- 
liam Fitzgerald, in Hereford-street, Park-lane. 

Donamon, once the magnificent seat of the great 
O'Fenaughty, which came into the possession of the 
Burkes of Glinsk Castle by a marriage alliance, was 
wrenched from the heirs of that family by the Usurper, 
and given to the Kings of Boyle, from whom the Earls 
of Kingston are descended. During the time that the 
heirs of King retained these manors, they were badly 
paid by their tenantry, as appeal's from some old re- 
cords found amongst the papers of my maternal ances- 
tors, the Skeffingtons of Kilbegnad Castle, in this neigh- 
bourhood, from whom the Cromwellian agents took a 
considerable scope of land also. The tenantry, says 
this ill-coloured kid-skin, had no small aversion to the 
old soldiers who ransacked the noble abbey of Boyle, 
as well as Kilbegnad, and the only way that they could 
obtain any token of their being lords of the fee-simple 
was when they brought a reinforcement of their vassals 
and sanguinary yeomen, who drove all the cattle they 
<;ould find before them, and sold them for what they 
would bring in the market of Boyle. The Burkes of 
Glinsk Castle and the Kings were always in contention, 
each harassing the persecuted peasantry in their turn. 

Some time after, the heirs of Boyle sold their claim to 
these manors to a Mr. Caulfieid, a kinsman of the Cbar- 
lemont family, the father of Counsellor Caulfieid, from 
whom the late Thomas, Theophilus, and Chief-Justice 
Caulfieid, were descended. Thomas Caulfieid died un- 



manied ; but a woman of the name of Peggy Jordaily 
who afterwards married one James Black, a brogue- 
maker by trade, fathered a daughter on him ; I believe 
her name was Jane, whom he had properly educated, 

and I understand he left her £10,000. Sir R K , 

being in want of money, married her ; and, from what I 
understand, she was a good wife, and humane to her dis- 
tressed serfs and tenantry. She was the mother of the 
late Lord Kingsborough, (who married Miss Fitzgerald, 
the great heiress of Mitchclstown, in the county of 
Cork) ; Colonel King of Ballina, Tyrav.lly ; the Dowager 
Countess of Rosse ; and Lady Eleanor King, who died 
at Wellington, in the county of Salop, a few years 
back. The late Chief-Justice Caulfield died unmar- 
ried, after having accumulated a large fortune by his 
economy and profession, to the latter of which he 
was a distinguished ornament. The last time he pre- 
sided as Judge on the Munster Circuit he left the unfor- 
tunate Sir Laurence Cotter, Bart, of Rockforest, near 
Donerail, for execution, for a rape on a Quaker's daugh- 
ter. On this occasion, he observed, (seeing that Cotter 
was so universally regretted,) that he never would come 
that circuit again. He was a man at all times much 
afraid of thieves and robbers, though never assailed in 
his life by any of those formidable bandit that in those 
days infested this country, denominated Tories, at the head 
of which was a notorious character of the name of Bryan 
Kelly, commonly called in the Irish language, Breen 
Robugh O'Kallagh. However, one incident deserves to 
be recorded ; a servant of the name of Fiynn, who lived 
many years as footman with his Lordship, but with whom 
the latter parted for frequent intoxication, and Avhose 
parents were tenants on the Donamon estate, having 
a perfect knowledge of the castle and where the Judge 
kept his hoard, this worthless villain availed himself of 
making an attack on his late master on a night when 


the household were invited to a ball given by Mr. 
Croughan of Ardmore-house, (which was only separated 
from the Caulfield mansion by the great river Suck) to 
his own domestics and their friends. Tlie robber found 
the under doors all open, and walked up to the Chief 
Justice's study with his face blackened ; he presented a 
pistol at his Lordship, and demanded his money. Five 
hundred guineas lay carelessly on a round table, a short 
distance from where Judge Caulfield sat, which he had 
received only a few hours previously from his agent, 
Mr. Tighe. Take that five hundred guineas, said he, 
and be gone : No, nor double the sum, replied the rob- 
ber. Then stop, friend, said his Lordship, until I get 
some in the next room, to which he immediately re- 
tired, and locked the door as he got in. Here he threw 
up the window, and sounded a speaking-trumpet, calling 
on his servants to come to his assistance, for that he 
was attacked by robbers. This alarmed the family and 
domestics at Ardmore (a very handsome mansion, de- 
molished through the folly of the late St. George Caul- 
field). The villain Flynn remained in the study all the 
time, thinking the old Judge would return according 
to promise ; but was not a little surprised when he found 
himself surrounded by such as heard the trumpet echo- 
ing through the charming glens and verdant banks in 
and about the house of Donamon. The first who en- 
tered was his Lordship's butler, who shot the unfortu- 
nate Flynn through the heart, and the body was 
thrown out of the window, where it remained until a 
Coroner's inquest was held on it. It was ordered to be 
buried in the cross roads, and the five hundred guineas, 
with which he might have walked off without further 
notice, were divided amongst the servants, every one re- 
ceiving his share according to his station in his Lordship's 
establishment. Judge Caulfield was a most eccentric, 
and indeed a singular character in many respects, such 


as we find old bachelors and old maids in general, whose 
Avhims and caprices render those whose avocations in 
this vale of woe are connected with them often disagree- 
able. His Lordship's favourite mistress (for it seems he 
was a noted gallant in his youthful days) was one Miss 

, who left his Lordship, not (as he asserted 

himself some time after the young wench's frail incon- 
stancy) with an empty hand : she took a large sum of 
gold, says he, out of my closet. This woman got mar- 
ried to a surveyor, a most respectable man, in the neigh- 
bourhood of Ballymoe, and undoubtedly was a good 
wife, and a humane woman in her sphere of society after- 
wards. His Lordship spent the winter months at his 
house in Aungier-street, in the City of Dublin, and the 
summer at his noble seat Donamon, about four miles 
from the town of Roscommon, and seventy-tAvo from 
Dublin. He was partial to the foreign breed of cattle, 
and paid a high price for some Dutch and Hereford 
calves ; one day he put on his mud boots to walk through 
the pasture on which his kine were regaling themselves, 
accompanied by his steward, Mr. Richard Giblin, a 
worthy man, who from his childhood had lived on the 
demesne of Donaman : on this occasion he began to ad- 
mire a beautiful young cow, of the Dutch breed, with a 
wild calf racing and enjoying the sultry rays of the sun, 
and shining from the profusions of good new milk that 
voraciously went down his merry throttle. It happened, 
at the moment, that a poor old man, called Michael 
Fadda, or Long Michael, who had been an old and intimate 
acquaintance of the Chief Justice, as, in their youthful 
days, they often played pitch-and-toss, foot-ball, and 
marbles together, met them. Michael, said his Lordship, 
Dick tells me (alluding to his steward) that you have no 
milk in this warm weather : it is true, my Lord, replied 
Long Michael. But suppose, saysthe Judge, that I made 
you, as a token of our early friendship, a compliment of 


one of those cows, which would you select as your 
choice? Arrah, avourneen, please your honour, my 
good Lord Chief Justice, says Michael, it would be 
a foolish thing of me to pass that auburn crumeen, point- 
ing out an old cow, for many years on the list of barren- 
ness from old age, Avhich, as a compensation for the 
period she had supplied the inhabitants of the castle 
with curds and sweet whey, was allowed to range at 
large, tasting the fragrant and wholesome daisies and 
verdant shamrocks for which the diversified and charm- 
ing fields of Donamon are so justly celebrated. Hearing 
Michael panegyrize the old cow, which he lauded to the 
sky, the Judge at once conjectured that he was smitten 
with old crumeen, whose wrinkled forehead and reclin- 
ing horns convinced those that took a view x>f her drop- 
sical circumference that she was bending fast towards 
her last home. Well, Michael, said his Lordship, take 
your choice of the cows. Long Michael shook his 
shoulders two or three times, squeezing his lips together 
and throwing up his prodigious eyebrows, he said, I thank 
your Lordship most kindly. After a long pause the 
Chief Justice asked him if he had determined which to 
take. Yes, my Lord, replied Long Michael, I know 
poor Crumeen was at one time, when you and I were 
young men, one of the best milch cows in this parish ; 
she is now superannuated, and much on the decline, con- 
sequently, as your Lordship is so good as to take my 
forlorn and abject state into your kind consideration, 
feeling as you do for the distress of me and my family, 
Heaven bless and reward you, I will, with your leave, 
take as my choice that handsome cow with the young 
calf, meaning the Dutch cow with which his Lordship 
was so much delighted a few minutes before. The con- 
sequence was, that Judge Caulfield gave him twenty 
guineas, and another milch cow, to leave him his favourite 
Dutch breed, Whenever his Lordship was discharging 


any of his servants for misconduct, which was chiefly con- 
fined to drunkenness, a crime that he never would for- 
give, he ordered his under coachman to get his carriage 
ready, and give the person leaving his establishment, 
whether male or female, a jaunt to the cross roads near 
the town of Roscommon, with orders to tell the dis- 
carded to make a choice of the road. His favourite 
amusement, even in his old age, was playing pitch-and- 
toss, at which game he was always very expert ,• and 
when he won all the halfpence that the naked rustics 
were possessed of, he retired to the top of a large syca- 
more tree which reclined most enchantingly over the 
road, a short distance from the Castle, in which was a 
handsome seat for him to sit, and the branches were 
interwoven so judiciously that they kept off the rain. To 
this fragrant sofa he could ascend w ith all the ease ima- 
ginable, by a safe ballustrade, and a stair-case cut neatly 
in the same tree, which is still growing more verdant 
and more flourishing than ever. From his lofty seat, 
not on the Bench of Justice, but on that sweet-scented 
bench on which his Lordship spent the happiest mo- 
ments of his life, he had a delightful view of the demesne 
and Castle of which he was the lord and owner, and 
also the various groups of wild foAvl that took refuge on 
the handsome islands in the noble Suck, which forms 
into a lake in the vicinity of the Castle. On the death 
of Judge Caulfield, the property fell into the possession 
of his only sister, Mrs. Walcott, who lived many years 
in York-street, and at her rural cottage at Newtown 
Park, in the County of Dublin. The heir apparent was 
the late St. George Caulfield, the only son of Thcophilus 
Caulfield, by Miss Irwin of Castle-Irwin, in the County 
of Fermanagh. He married Miss Harriet Crofton of 
Moate Park, in this county. His only sister was Mrs. 
Cuffe of Deel Castle, in the County of Mayo. By every 
account Colonel Cuffe imquestionably deserved a good 


wife and a splendid fortune, such as the highly acconi' 
plished Miss Caulfield of Donamon Castle, with other 
graces, brought to the ancient residence of the Gore 
family, now in the possession of the heirs of Viscount 
Tyrawley. From circumstances very well known, it is 
obvious that if the rich daughter of the beautiful Dona- 
mon were aware at the time of her union with Mr. Cuffe, 
commonly called the Honourable Colonel CufFe, (he was 
only the illegitimate son of the Peer of Tyrawley,) great 
as his expectations might have been, and exalted his 
rank in the British army, that union would never have 
taken place. Colonel CufFe, who died a few months 
ago, has left no issue by Miss Caulfield. 

Kilbegnad Castle, at one time a noble residence, is 
levelled to the ground, and there is not so much as one 
stone to be seen ; all that remains of its former great- 
ness is the old burial ground attached to the abbey. — 
This Castle stood about two miles from the house of Do- 
namon. These fertile manors were for upwards of one 
thousand years the inheritance of my maternal ances- 
tors ; and I have to solicit the great indulgence of my 
readers on a subject that must bring melancholy reflec- 
tions to my thoughts. One thing I wish to observe is, 
that I hope they will not accuse of me of vain and 
assumed egotism, as I was nurtured in poverty, and 
uneducated, save that which the children of indigence 
receive from the village pedagogue, where often unfor- 
tunately their susceptibility forms worse impressions 
than any favourable idea of removing the original errors. 
Of my father's family I said a few words by way of an 
introduction, when I commenced this volume of " My 
Early Recollections" but which, I fear from incapacity, 
will rather incense the public mind against me than give 
general satisfaction. All I crave, however, from the 
public reviewers and periodical critics, with which this 
country is inundated, is to spare the life of this forlorn. 


friendless, and unorthographical pamphlet, and not 
cause its abortion, or falling under the sabre of the 
numerous group of sack-'em-ups that have overspread 
the country, by throwing it still-born, even without the 
benefit of the clergy, into a premature grave. The 
Skeffington family, from whom I am descended, are of 
French extraction. They got possession of the Kilbeg- 
nad and Crosswell estates, in the County of Gal way, in 
the eighth century, and retained their patrimony in 
rotation, each lineal heir in succession, as the inheritors 
of their progenitors, till the days of that scourge of 
hell, Oliver Cromwell, at which period the heirs of that 
noble family lost the moiety given to the Kingston 
family, but now in the possession of that amiable young 
minor, St. George Caulfield, as yet very little known in 
this country, he having been chiefly educated on the 
Continent and in England ; so that I may throw him in 
amongst that ungrateful batch of absentees who never 
spend a shilling of the great and exorbitant revenues 
wrenched from the resources of this forsaken country. 
In the metropolis, or amongst the naked and neglected 
peasantry, in recording a genuine description of the 
country M'hich I am attempting to pourtray, candour 
obliges me to mention these circumstances, in order to 
make its localities more universally known in Great 
Britain, as well as in my native soil; yet let not the 
reader imagine that I assail young Mr. Caulfield in the 
language of acrimony for absenting himself from his 
native country — thousands, possessing larger fortunes 
and of more mature years, have done the same — and 
particularly as Minor Caulfield is yet under the control 
of his mother, a woman who, in her most splendid and 
princely days, was not very partial to the antique man- 
sion that adorns the beautiful and extensive demesne in 
and about the principality of the great O'Fenaughty. 
The Skeffington family, in their prosperous days, were 


possessed of extensive domains in and about Kilbegnad 
Castle — sucli as Crosswells, Curraghreagh, Rossmiian, 
some lands farmed by a Mr. Tighe, and the lands sold 
recently by Lady Elizabeth Russell, which her Ladyship 
held in right of her mother, the daughter of Peter Daly, 
Esq., commonly called Peter the Fool. Those manors 
got into the possession of the heirs of Glinsk Castle 
after the Revolution of 1688. The memorable procla- 
mation issued by the Commissioners of the Prince of 
Orange from Limerick, according to the promises and 
articles of capitulation between those mighty sages and 
Lord Sarsfield, Viscount Mayo, the Earl of Enniskillen, 
Generals Darrington, Preston and others, on behalf of 
the Irish, the gentry of the empire, or at least such as 
the rapine and epidemic contagion that raged, or the 
sanguinary sword of the ferocious and merciless bri- 
gands that over-run and ransacked the coimtry, were 
summoned to get charity, that is a moiety or some 
moor on the outskirt of their former patrimony. In 
this state the pusillanimous Stuarts, whose very name 
should be held up to posterity with that execration that 
their immoral and irreligious lives and examples de- 
serve, plunged the inhabitants of this persecuted coun 
try in almost every reign during the period that the 
great Lord of Heaven and Earth allowed such impiety 
as they introduced by their sanction and bad example to 
exist, and which never could be annihilated but by their 
final overthrow ; and, with all my heart, I say, in the 
old and well-known phrase, " Joy be with them." It is 
obvious that the indignation of God weighed heavily 
over the Scotch race of the Stuarts, wherein he raised 
rebellion, schism, public execution on the block, and a 
scourge of the most sanguinary revolution that ever 
disgraced and disturbed the ancient inheritors of a 
country. God often raises a revolt in one country to 
scourge another ; but has he not raised a daughter and 



a' nephew to scourge, not James the Second, but James 
the last ? What other end could the descendants of the 
murderers of David Rizzio, and the many high crimes 
of the surplus of lust and the seed of adultery (Darnley) 
expect but anarchy and tribulation, or the paramour of 
the notorious Nell Gwynne, in the face of the world, 
and I may say in the presence of his own Queen, who 
lived in a notorious state of adultery with a wicked and 
lascivious woman, and had the audacity to raise his bas- 
tards to Peerages, with escutcheons far above the 
ancient and legitimate nobles of the empire. To return, 
however, to the mock, and in many instances, fraudulent 
settlement of the people's rights in 1689. In the strong 
garrison of Limerick, my great-grandfather's age and 
infirmities prevented him to attend, and particularly as 
the Baronet of Glinsk Castle, with whom he was con- 
nected by marriage, promised to ansAver in his name at 
the Court of Claims, and obtain for him a renewal of 
those parts that the agents of Oliver Cromwell thought 
proper to allow the heirs of that house to retain. When 
Skeffington of Skeffington Abbey, commonly called Kil- 
begnad, was called for. Sir John Burke of Glinsk Castle 
answered, and by an adjustment not noAV Avorth explain- 
ing, he had, it appears, those manors registered in his 
own name, part of which his heirs sold some years back 
to Mr. Daly. It happened that it was an imposition on 
the Commissioners, as well as on the old and esteemed 
gentleman, who, between party and party, was deprived 
of his hereditary birth-right. Mr. Skeffington died in a 
few months after, leaving a distressed family by three 
wives. His first wife was Catherine, the eldest sister of 
Bobert Ulick Lane, Earl of Lanesborough ; his second 
was Eleanor Honora, the daughter of Henry Mapother, 
of Kiltevan, near Roscommon ; his last wife, who sur- 
vived him, was the fourth daughter of William John 
Kelly of Turroch, in the Barony of Athlone. By his 


first wife he had two daughters, and one son who was 
killed in the army ; by his second, Miss Mapother, from 
whom I am descended, he had two sons ; and three 
daughters by Miss Kelly of Turroch ; the eldest of them 
was married to Henry Burke of Carrantrila, near Tuam, 
but died in the confinement of her first-born, which 
was a son, who became an officer in the Austrian ser- 
vice, and who made a noble connexion in that country. 
In this manner Avas the noble family of Skefiington 
brought to an abject state j and those who enriched 
themselves at their expense have not so much as one 
cubit of those extensive manors in the possession of 
their progeny at the present day, but have got (through 
their prodigality) into other hands. The eldest of the 
Miss Skeffingtons was married to Coll O'Flynn, Esq., of 
Ballyglass, near the Abbey of Kilcrone, in this neigh- 
bourhood ; the second married Mr. Burke of Gortmor- 
ris, near Crosswells, a junior branch of the house of 
Glinsk, who had for centuries tliis handsome patrimony, 
for which, said my father, when affinity began to remove 
by degrees the kindred of these families, the voracious 
Baronets, maternally descended from Matilda O'Kelly 
with the Long Dagger, thirsted most shamefully. The 
last of these Burkes of Gortmorris was found dead in 
his bed, apparently from strangulation. After the unfor- 
tunate man's death, hump-back Richard (though not so 
iM)torious for his sanguinary atrocities as that monster 
personated so ably by Mr. Kean) came in for the pro- 
perty of Gortmorris; and the whole of those estates, 
obtained in the bloody days of Matilda O'Kelly, the 
wife of Rick Burke, were sold a few months back to 
pay the debts of that Baronet, commonly called Sir 
John CufFe Burke, who can be heard of about Calais, or 
in any of those celebrated hotels about St. James's. — 
Another of the beautiful and accomplished daughters of 
Henry John Skefiington, Esq., married O'Ferrall of 

Ardandrew, in the County of Longford, whose ancient 
territory was divided between the Edgeworths of Lissard, 
now of Edgeworthstown, and the Fetherstons, which 
family obtained a Baronetcy some years back, and got a 
seat in the British House of Commons by the mira- 
culous touch of my Lady Rosse's political mantle. — 
The SkefRngtons of SkefRngton Abbey, or Kilbegnad, 
were connected with some of the first families in the 
United Kingdom, such as the O'Connors of Faly, or 
Mount-Pleasant — the O'Moores of Cloughan and Moore 
Abbey — the FitzGeralds of the Glens — the O'Kellys of 
Aughrim and Turrock — the O'Haras of Sligo — the Mac 
Donnells of Dunluce — the O'Neils and the Clotworthys 
of the County of Antrim — and the Duchess of Massa- 
reene, in France. A few miles from Kilbegnad Castle 
is the noble ruin of the Abbey of Oran, on the Malone 
estates, in the County of Roscommon. This magni- 
ficent pile was destroyed in the memorable days of Oli- 
ver Cromwell, and all the unfoitunate inmates put to 
the sword. How the chxu'ch lands of this fertile and 
very extensive district came into the possession of the 
noble heirs of the house of Sunderlin, I cannot inform 
the reader J but should any person be inclined to take 
that trouble, from Mr. Maloue's great urbanity and 
courtesy, I am confident they will get every satisfaction, 
and the best fare in that well-known hospitable mansion^ 
called Palace, in the King's County. The spring burst- 
ing from the foundation of this great havoc deserves 
particular notice, from its being situated on a steep hill. 
A short distance from this abbey, are the ruinous walls 
within which the celebrated navigator, Irwin, was born, 
to whose great talents and skill in navigation the 
world is much indebted. The Irwins of Oran, or, 
as it is commonly called, Killinerty, took refuge in 
Ireland, during that virulent rebellion which raged in 
Scotland in tlie latter days of the unfortunate Charles, 


whom his own relatives and vassals sold for four- pence ; 
au act that has disgraced them more than any other 
crime, and for which the history of their country justly 
accuses them. Was it any wonder, then, that the base 
hero of Glencoe, who had numbers of the unfortunate 
M'Donalds barbarously murdered in their beds, and 
their blood sprinkled on the verdant glens of their an- 
cestors, should find agents in the Highlands to put his 
merciless and abominable atrocities into execution, and 
his desired and well-bribed injunctions carried on to his 
diabolical wishes ? The Irwins left their native country 
under no auspicious or opulent circumstances, but 
their good and honest intentions in the cause of justice 
and humanity, came before them ; and in no country in 
the known world is patriotic integrity more zealously 
cherished than in Ireland, with all her Burkes and sack- 
*em-ups. Sir John Davies said, " we (the Irish) loved 
justice, but seldom got it :" But his Grace of Welling- 
ton, and the immortal Robert Peel having taken the 
beam of justice in their own hands, and following the 
good and judicious advice of the honest and esteemed 
O'Connell, have immortalized their names. The Ir- 
wins of Oran lived many years in great respectability in 
the vicinity of Roscommon j however, the prodigality 
of the late gentry of that house caused the property to 
vanish like their own memory, being almost extinct — 
the only one of the navigator's family now in existence 
being an old lady of eighty-four, who was left without 
any means whatever in her infant days, save such as the 
Almighty God has given his creatures — the use of her 
faculties, and the exertions of her own frame. However 
God raised a friend for the destitute Miss Irwin, in that 
of a kinsman, the late William Irwin of Leighbeg, near 
Ballymoe, in whose house she took refuge, until she got 
married to one Robert Irwin, an invalid, with a short 
leg, who served his apprenticeship to the silk weaving 


business, in Meath-alley, in the Liberties of Dublin, 
On the death of his father, who held a large farm, called 
Emla, in this neighbourhood (I believe from the Earls 
of Mountrath), Robert, who was the elder son by a for- 
mer wife, claimed right to the farm, to the prejudice of 
those whom the father and the step-mother intended to 
be their successors. Robert, disabled as he was, threw 
away his looms, tools, and shuttles, and bid a final adieu 
to the fulsome lanes and smoke of the ragged Liberty, 
and became a grazier : A happy circumstance for the 
serfs and rustic farmers of the mountainous districts of 
the barony of Costello, Ballyhaunus, and the mountains 
of O'Flynn, as Mr. Irwin bought indiscriminately, from 
five to twenty-five years old, all the cows with which 
Viscount Dillon's lonely and insolvent tenantry were in- 
cumbered for many years, and which poor old skeletons 
had not, in the whole course of their miserable lives, tasted 
so much as the top of one shamrock or daisie, but who 
now were allowed to range at large through the fertile 
fields of Castleplunkett. Robert Irwin, though a bad 
judge of horned cattle, made some money by his farming, 
which he gathered with all the rigid economy of a 
miser; there he was hid from the world, in a long 
thatched hovel, ornamented at the top with three dark 
old chimnies, the centre one as v/idc and round appa- 
rently, as that mighty pillar (declining by superannua- 
tion, not by the fanaticism of the times,) that threatens 
the destruction of the rag-sellers and herb-merchants of 
John's-lane, well knoAvn as the bulky steeple of Christ's 
Church. The only ornament that one could see was a 
long loose stone-wall, and a few ash trees, some distance 
from the family mansion, beaten doAvn by the storm and 
the nests of a few rooks which built there in the spring 
of the year : the black marsli, in a deep swajnp called 
the Glen, not the Glen of the Downs, but the valley of 
typhus contagion, and the other miseries so common 


attiottg the rustics of that country— the mud of which is 
tiie only source from which the serfs and neighbouring 
herds derive their winter firing, which they make into 
mortar, formed into bricks, and bake them for some 
weeks before the sun : — these were the rural scenes 
that adorned the family mansion prepared for the recep- 
tion of the grand-daughter of the great and celebrated 
navigator Irwin, whom the silk-weaver married at the 
house of Leighbeg, on the banks of the River Suck. 
Robert Irwin had two sons and one daughter by Miss 
Bridget Irwin of Killinerty ; the daughter, at the age of 
sixteen, eloped with the late Paid Davis, Esq. of Cloon- 
shanville, near Frenchpark ; the elder son, John Irwin, 
made a Gretna Green marriage Avith the daughter of 
a neighbouring grazier of the name of Balfe — he was 
underage at the time; the younger son (Christopher), 
who was intended for the Church, married the gaoler's 
daughter in the town of Galway, I think in the year 
I8I7. There never were recorded three children who 
disobeyed the injunctions of their parents with more 
audacious or flagitious impropriety than the unfortu- 
nate progeny of Bob Irwin. The daughter eloped 
with an old and embarrassed rake, though of a good 
family ; the elder son obtained money on inadequate 
mortgages and under false pretences, and finally he be- 
came a thief and a robber ; he forged on the Bank of 
Ireland to a large amount, and robbed one Feely, an 
opulent grazier of this county, of ten thousand pounds : 
another indictment charged him with aiding and assist- 
ing in the barbarous murder of an unfortunate rustic of 
the name of Flynn, near Ballymoe in the County of Gal- 
way, the father of six helpless children. The transac- 
tions relating to this murder deserve being recorded : — 
The younger of these Irwins took the cottage and de- 
mesne of Marnell's Grove from an attorney of the name 
of Marnell, who lives in Duke-street, Westminster, in 


the City of London, and appointed Thomas Nolan, of 
Milford, his agent. Mr. Irwin, after retaining posses- 
sion of the lands and premises, for, I believe, about 
eighteen months, refused to pay the rent agreed for, ran- 
sacked the house of all that was portable, such as grates, 
frames, fixtures, &c. and removed the chief part of the 
stock off the land, save a few young colts and bullock 
calves : the remnant that remained was impounded by 
the agent, and left in the care of the unfortunate Flynn, 
who lived in a wretched hut partly built in the pound- 
wall, so that nothing could be removed therefrom with- 
out his knowledge. The night after the cattle were 
given into his charge, a gang of lawless murderers sur- 
rounded the poor man's cabin, broke open the pound, 
and drove the cattle to a distant farm belonging to these 
Irwins, or the faction who espoused their cause. Flynn 
on hearing the noise came out, when he was assailed 
witli a volley of stones from the party, by which he wa3 
soon brought to the ground. His wretched wife, with 
a new born infant in her arms, left a sick bed to render 
assistance to her husband, and received similar treat- 
ment. One of the party, more ferocious than the rest, 
stepped forward and fired a blunderbuss into Flynn's 
face; not satisfied with this, the monster turned the 
blunderbuss in his hand and gave the unfortunate vic- 
tim a blow on the head which divided the skull : they 
then trampled on his body and departed with their booty, 
leaving a disconsolate widow and six naked orphans la- 
bouring under all the privations and wretchedness at 
which nature recoils with horror — a mother frantic from 
despair, and from the multiplicity of vicissitudes with 
which she is surrounded, careless of her fate from the 
tragic massacre she had just witnessed, and trampling, 
in her bare feet, in the blood of her murdered husband, 
the soother of her sorrows, the partner of her early and 
unpolluted lovf?, who consoled her in her pains and ad ■ 


fiainistef ied to her parched lips the leaking platter of cold 
water which the bounty of a neighbouring spring pro- 
fusely supplied in spite of the oppression of the tyrant, 
the exactions of the middleman, or the overcharge of the 
merciless tithe proctor. Are we to suppose for a mo- 
ment that the throne of the living God was to be insulted 
and outraged with impunity ? Is it not obvious that the 
Lord of the Universe, who witnessed such heinous and 
wanton barbarity, would avenge the wrongs of the or- 
phan and the piercing moans of the starving widow ? — 
Was it any wonder that the curse of an angry and in- 
sulted God would fall heavily on the instigators and per- 
petrators of so detestable a crime ? Why, to my own 
knowledge the chief of the accused — (as yet none of his 
abettors have suffered under the offended laws of their 
country) — is homeless and pennyless, pining away in 
want, and abhorred with that execration and disgust 
his many atrocities deserve, and upon which, unques- 
tionably, is entailed the indignation of the living God ! 
Is it to be supposed that the most vulgar rustic, much 
less those whose knowledge of the world should tell 
them that they ought to value that great treasure, an 
unblemished character, would deign to notice or be seen 
in company with murderers, forgers, common impos- 
tors, and indeed, only that he did not stand on the high- 
way, the most notorious robber tliat ever was known in 
the County of Roscommon — that villain who evaded the 
just sentence of the law by breaking out of prison, and 
for whose apprehension one thousand pounds were of- 
fered, strange to say, escaped, though he lay three days 
under a broken leg — (" what a pity," says the Widow 
Feely, " it was not his Orange neck") — in a fulsome cel- 
lar in Dirty-lane, and spent upwards of a month at a 
Mr, Howly's, near Ballina in the County of Mayo, pre- 
vious to his sailing from the neighbourhood of Sligo for 


America. " John Irwin/' says the late Jack Farrell of 
Bloomfield, " was, without exception, the most polished 
rogue that ever the annals of this country placed 
amongst the felons in a Newgate Calendar.'" Major 
Wills, for some years a stipendiary Magistrate in this 
County, apprehended Irwin at a lofty mansion, recently 
modernised, on the hill of the celebrated Emla, which 
Dean Swift describes as one of those castles in the air. — 
He paid Major Wills great attention by ordering a break- 
fast for him and his body guard : while the party were 
regaling themselves, honest Johnny asked the Major's 
leave to go into the next room to speak to his wife, the 
daughter of the late Mr. Balfe, of Heathfield, on the 
Dillon Manors in that neighbourhood. The Major, so 
courteous and full of urbanity, granted the interview, 
but the knowing yo.r tricked him by getting out of the 
window. Christopher Irwin, who remained for three 
years in Galway gaol, could not be identified by Flynn's 
wife, consequently he was acquitted. He afterwards 
married the gaoler's daughter, known at one time as the 
Irwins of Emla. 

Dundermott, previous to the last Revolution, was the 
residence of MacDermott Roe. The MacDermott Roes 
possessed large estates in the vicinity of Oran Abbey 
and Ballymoe, on the banks of the River Suck j they are 
a junior branch of the noble house of Coolavin, and in 
every age since their recognition as the leading aristo- 
cracy of that district, made connexions worthy of them- 
selves. Counsellor MacDermott, who married Miss 
Kelly, the heiress of Springfield, is the lineal descendant 
from that ancient family. The late Colonel CufFe of Bal- 
lymoe, Avho got the chief part of these manors, died some 
years back without male issue, leaving his estates to both 
his daughters as co-heiresses. The eldest became a Ca- 
tholic, and married Sir John Burke, Bart, of Glinsk 
Castle J the second married a Captain Baggot, whose 


son inherits tlie property, and is a Magistrate of the 
County of Galway. Dundermott has been the residence 
of Samuel Lee, Esq.. for many years. He was the son of 
a carpenter of that name, who was employed by Judge 
Caulfield about the Castle of Donamon. His brother- 
in-law, an attorney of the name of Owens, who lived a 
single life though not a chaste one, accumulated some 
property ; amongst the rest, the house and lands of 
Dundermott, which he mortgaged from Colonel Cuffe. — 
The late Samuel Lee called himself Samuel Lee Owens, 
on getting the property. His first wife was Miss Wills 
of Willsg-rove, in this neighbourhood; and his second 
was a Miss Fetherstone, the sister of an opulent grazier 
of that name, in the vicinity of Mullingar. Mr. Owens 
had children by both wives ; he was very fond of his 
daughters, and gave them competent fortunes, while his 
two sons were not much better than roving paupers ; 
both went into the navy as common sailors, and one of 
them died a few months back at the house of a publican 
of the name of Richard Ryan, at the corner of a filthy 
lane near the end of Holies-street, Merrion-square, in the 
City of Dublin. He had the pretty face of the Owens, 
was a great smoker, and prodigiously fond of grog. 
Mr. Owens' two sisters succeeded each other as the fond 
wives of the late Counsellor Whitestonc, at one time a 
Barrister for the County of Roscommon. Mr. Owens' 
eldest daughter married a Mr. Birch, son to a banker of 
that name, who failed for no small sum, some years 
back, in Sackville-street, in the City of Dublin. The 
second daughter married Captain Conry of Cloonnahee, 
near Elphin ; the third married a Counsellor Blakeny 
of Athleague; and the fourth (Mr, Owens' great favou- 
rite) Mr. Kelly of Churchborough, near Athlone. The 
sons, it seems, were not exquisitely particular in their 
selection ; consequently " Collins' Peerage" omitted 
entertaining its perusers with the genealogy of the 


ladies whom they led to the hymeneal mart of raatri-; 
mony. Mr. Owens, though not claiming high lineage, 
was much esteemed, and lived in the most gentlemanly 
style of any Squire or Magistrate in his neighbourhood, 
keeping (till within a few years of his death) a hand- 
some equipage and a respectable establishment. He 
retired from society to a nice lodge on his own beautiful 
demesne, where he died, deservedly lamented, at an 
advanced age, I believe, in 1814. He is interred in the 
old Popish Abbey of Kilcrone, without so much as a 
common cenotaph to record his worth and unbounded 

A few miles from Dundermott is Newtown, the estate 
of Mr. Costello, (who married the highly accomplished 
Miss Lambert of Milford, the maternal grand-daughter 
of the late and justly-esteemed Sir John Burke, Bart.) 
the late occupier of a long thatched low hovel, with two 
rutty gable-ends, the vacant funnel of which was occu- 
pied by a pair of the most daring ravens and a clamour- 
ing colony of chattering daws, called Newtown-house, 
in which was a notorious character of the name of 
William Burke, commonly called (in consequence of hig 
carrying a long sword suspended from a leather girdle) 
in the Irish language, Luama Clavagh, or William 
Scimitar. This Burke was a remote relative of the 
Burkes of Gortmorris, a junior branch of the Glinsk 
family. He farmed a few acres about Newtown-house, 
(of which I have given an abridged account,) without 
any friend or even common acquaintance having the 
least intercourse with him for upwards of fifty years, 
save some women, who, even at the peril of their lives, 
visited him, when driven by the clergy from their native 
home, being immoral and abandoned characters, the 
consequence of which was that this ferocious and aus- 
tere tyrant overstocked the neighbourhood with bas- 
tards J even his landlord was gtCtually afraid to send to 


him for his rent till he thought proper to send it. H-b 
whole delight was in rearing every creeping thing that 
moved on the earth, save his own illegitimates, whom 
he could never bear to see or hear of. He was con- 
sidered to have the best breed of pigs in the Barony of 
Ballymoe, which he reared with the fond care of a 
parent. One end of NewtoM'n-house was allotted for an 
old sow (a legacy his mother left him) and her nume- 
rous brood, who, when one would suppose she was on 
the hst of superannuation, (being nearly twenty years of 
age,) was as flexible and fruitful as when in the prime 
of life, and brought no small annual revenue to her 
master — in consequence of which he considered her his 
stock in trade. So sensible was this animal of her mas- 
ter's propensities, and so accustomed to his eccentricity, 
that the moment she heard his curses and turbulent 
clamour, she w^ent and hid in a remote corner, and 
never so much as grunted during the time that he was 
in those boisterous freaks. In this large hovel he lived 
for many years, and had no other society but his horses, 
cows and pigs, with the exception of the women he 
kept during pleasure, or to do his manual labour in thie 
spring of the year. The horned cattle he generally kept 
tied to large stakes, pegged into the wall, by long rope^. 
During the winter nights, when coming short of fodder, 
the poor things pulled their horns from these side 
wedges, and roved about with pointed bayonets for raw 
potatoes, the straw from under Lady Burke's pillow, or 
some old blanket or cloth for change of diet. When 
their voracious maw led them to press too hard upon 
the chieftain's palliasses, he jumped up in a furious rage, 
and got hold of a large iron tongues. This teri'ified the 
poor animals to such a degree, that they ran through 
and fro for refuge, as former lessons on these occasions 
made them sensible of the cruelty of their unrelenting 
and ferocious owner. When he was determined to kill 


one of his pet swine for his own use, he generall seduced 
It with hot potatoes, and while the poor thing- was par- 
taking of its last supper, William Scimitar was watch- 
ing an opportunity to give it a blow of a weighty sledge 
on the forehead. While the wretched beast was grasp- 
ing for death, one of the Lady Burke s was hurrying it 
with greater ease to the other world, by cutting its 
throat comfortably ; and another of the frail ribs, with 
equal humanity, to accelerate its pains and penalties, 
had a wad of straw in a blaze about its carcase to burn 
the hair off. When he wished to kill any of his geese, 
of which species he generally had a large flock, he ran 
among them with a long wattle, and killed old and 
young indiscriminately, and having no carving knife but 
his own rusty scimitar, which, from hewing wood and 
other purposes, was rather blunt, the goose, for the 
sake of accommodation, was drawn limb from limb by 
the hands or mouth. Any fair or market that the fero- 
cious barbarian went to, the principal part of the mul- 
titude made off with their lives. He generally rode a 
tall iron-grey horse, which he named " Charger," 
mounted in that style that you recognise in those terrific 
effigies modelled after that Titular Saint, Oliver Crom- 
well — a man so noted for his sanguinary ferocity, 
habituated to rapine and riot, and dressed in such a garb 
of terror, and mounted on one of the most vicious and 
ungovernable garrans that ever served its apprenticeship 
in the old Enniskilleners of 1688, which reared front- 
wards and kicked spitefully backwards, with cropped 
ears, long tail, open mouth, and a prodigious large head. 
Was it any wonder that such a master and so terrific 
and warlike a charger would cause no small terror in 
the minds of the populace in those days, where the 
inhabitants had not the protection of the law as in 
the present ? I have seen the wild man of the wood, 
said my father, at the fair of that factious and lawless 


colony, well known as Castle-Plunkett, a village which 
produced in every age the most ferocious and dauntless 
prize-fighters, and from which (in our own times) the 
notorious John Irwin of Emla selected the reprobate 
gang of murderers who displayed their barbarous fero- 
city in annihilating the unfortunate pound-keeper of 
Kilcrone. Here, added my father, William Scimitar 
Burke mounted a charger, which sometimes stood erect 
on his hind legs, and made a formidable charge at the 
populace ; and when he found that he could assail them 
with his hind legs in nooks and corners, kicked, reared, 
and plunged with the adroitness and chivalry of a 
trooper. What brought him to those public meetings 
nobody could tell, as he seldom had any thing to dispose 
of, and (with the exception of strangers) no person 
would purchase goods from him. The only reason that 
can be assigned for his getting into such tantrims at 
Castle-Plunkett was a foolish boy who laughed at the 
length of his spurs, his uncouth exterior, and the mus- 
cular ferocity of his mustacheos. Though brought up in 
that rude rustic and indolent life, and having in his 
youthful days outlawed all controul, it seems he read 
some good works, and displayed no small share of eru- 
dition in his satirical attack on the late Thomas Connor 
of Milltown, on his apostacy to get to be High Sheriff 
and a Magistrate of the County of Roscommon. In one 
of his verses he says — 

There comes a Jiist ass of Peace, 
With his tearing: Corrmission, O. 

On Tom's marriage with Miss O'Flynn of Turla, who 
had a prodigious leer in her best eye, and was far ad- 
vanced on the list of old maids at the time, he ad- 
dresses him thus — 

Hie, hie, for Tom Connor of Miltown, 
And hie for his crooked-ey'd Lady. 

The tragic end of this village tyrant was awful ! He 


isent a kish of young pigs to the Candlemas fair of Bally- 
moe, to be sold by one of those ladies of easy virtue, 
who, in her turn, acted as caterer and sales-woman. 
In the course of the day he rode into the fair himself, 
and, on alighting off his horse, one of the neighbouring 
rustics was leading a fat hog through the crowd; the 
rope attached to its leg chanced to entangle in William 
Scimitar's long spur, which enraged him to that degree 
that he drew his sword ; the young man let the pig go, 
and made off with his life; he ran into an ale-house just 
opposite, and took refuge in a room off the kitchen, in 
which the keeper of the house frequently kept a horse, 
and in which stood a large pitchfork; by the uproar 
amongst the crowd, he felt convinced that William 
Burke was at his heels ; he then shut the door against 
Scimitar. However, the reprobate man's passion was 
raised to such a pitch, that he was determined to gratify 
his revenge; he was breaking in the door; the young 
man inside had no other resource but to fight for his 
life ; taking hold of the fork, he drove it with his full 
force through William Scimitar Burke's body, who fell 
instantly to rise no more. Thus, to the no small joy of 
the neighbouring population, terminated the life of one 
of the most ferocious and turbulent monsters (save the 
notorious Robert Ormsby of Tubbervaddy) that ever dis- 
graced this province by their barbarous and manifold 
atrocities. His mortal and unregretted remains were 
carried home in the same creel in which he sent his pigs 
to market. The Ladies Burke of Newtown had him 
laid out in state for a whole week, in that excellent style 
that the great artist, Cruikshank, describes an Irish 
wake, with all the ludicrous scenes connected with such 
riotous and nocturnal revelry. NcAvtown joins Arda, 
the conspicuous and rural residence of the late Red- 
mond Carroll, Esquire, the father of Miss Betty Carroll, 
so well-known in the fashionable world ; and though not 


a good figure, one of the most graceful dancers of her 
tlay. Newtown is about two miles from the old ruin of 
Glinsk, and four from Ballymoe, a post-town on the 
banks of the River Suck. 

Ballymoe, the residence of Mr. Baggot, is delightfully 
situated on a handsome island on the bordei's of Gal- 
way, at the influx of two large rivers, called the Suck 
and the Bohilla — rivers on which the late Dennis 
O'Connor of Willsbrook built one of the best flour- 
mills in this neighbourhood. The magnitude of these 
rapid streams, which at the extremity of this much -im- 
proved village unite into one, (and separate the coun- 
ties of Galway and Roscommon,) in a lonely glen, on 
which the Elysian and diversified demesne of the 
beautiful and much-admired Dundermott smiles, with 
all its natural advantages, might well make the im- 
mortal Goldsmith describe it as another Auburn, the 
*' loveliest village of the plain." Ballymoe is ten miles 
from the town of Roscommon, and about seventy- 
six from the City of Dublin. The noble ruin of the 
house of O'Conor Don, called Ballintober, is within 
two miles of Ballymoe : the remains of its former great- 
ness are, four ruinous, dark, and dismal-looking castles, 
built in the ninth century. These castles were fortified 
by a very strong wall, about forty feet high and eight 
feet broad, surrounded with a deep dyke, which, in for- 
mer days, retained some depth of water. The only en- 
trance into these castles was a small narrow gate, witli 
a recess on each side for a sentinel, and one or two 
spike holes looking in different direction ; and on the 
storey over this was a strong set-offj Vv'ith open gutters, 
from which boiling- water or lead was poured on such as 
came on hostile messages to assail the inmates. It was 
impossible to take this castle of the O'Conors by sur- 
prise, unless treachery were carried on by those intrusted 
with the protection of the palace and garrison. Previous 



to this castle being built, the royal residence \vas on tlic 
beautiful plains of Rathcroughan, from which the Con- 
naught Kings got the appellation, according to the 
Irish language, of Reigh-Cronghan. In those days the 
nionarchs were annually elected, as we do now-a-days 
Sir William Blink, or Bradley King, chief magistrates: 
so that the O'Neills, the O'Donnells, the O'Moores, the 
O'Haras, the O'Rourkes, and such other nobles of the 
island as offered themselves as candidates, were crowned, 
according to the choice of the people — which choice 
should be confirmed by the clergy, and the chosen 
anointed with holy oil, and crowned by the Arch- 
bishop of the diocese in which the election took place. 
In later days, when Druidism was annihilated, and 
the Catholic Church, with all its magnificent splen- 
dour, established on its Pagan ruins, inw were elected 
save those distinguished for their piety, magnanimity, 
and warlike valour in the field of battle. These vir- 
tues and great endo\vments were predominant in the 
illustrious sons and lineal heirs of O'Conor, which 
caused their return and perpetual election for t^vo cen- 
turies previous to Henry the Second of England assum- 
ing any authority in this kingdom. During the Vice- 
royship of the Virgin Queen's gallant commander, 
Walter Devereux, he was raised to the peerage for sig- 
nal services and graces special — thereby wrenching from 
the heirs of the ancient and noble family of the De 
Veres, the title of Earls of Essex : like the titles taken 
from the Talbots, the O'Briens of Clare, the Clancarthys, 
and a thousand others I could name in our own times. 
However, in the words of the virtuous and lamented 
3Irs. O' Noodle, of Doodlc-do-hall, in her mild remarks 
on the castle-rack-rents, and the castle-all-spents of the 
notorious year, not of Grace, but of the auction year of 
1800, several mighty titles, never before heard of, and 
then got up, she says, are vanishing with the me- 


mory of such revered worthies (as many of them have 
paid the debt of nature), and their sacred shrine is 
mouldering in the same grave with the Newalls, the 
Hempenstals, and the Jemmy O'Briens of their day. — 
However, to return to the house of O'Conor : Lord 
Essex deprived them of the patronage of the cliurch in 
this province, except one or two convents situated in 
their own private patrimony. Amongst these was the 
beautiful abbey of Cloonshanville, Kilteevin, Ballinto- 
ber, and Tulsk ; but in the days of Oliver Cromwell, 
both the 0'Conoi*s of Strokestown and Ballintober suf- 
fered much tribidation, and were stripped of all their pro- 
perty except that miserable mountainous remnant given 
to the widow of Roderick O'Conor, who was beheaded 
at his own door, at Castlerea, and his wide domains 
given to a Cromwellian soldier of the name of Sand- 
ford, ancestor to that unfortunate young man who was 
cruelly murdered at Windsor, in Berkshire, a few 
months ago. Roderick O'Conor, the last of that fa- 
mily who inherited the estates of Castlerea, in this 
neighbourhood, married the Lady Anne Birmingham 
of the illustrious house of Athenry, in the principa- 
lity of Galway, by whom he had one son, in whose 
person the direct line of royalty was preserved — and 
who, with his mother, lived in a wretched hut in a 
mean village called Screglahan, or Cloonalis, a short 
distance from Castlerea, married contrary to the wishes 
of his mother, Honora, the sister of Lrke Dowell, Esq. 
of Mantue, near Elphin. This lady built the family 
residence now standing ; she was the mother of Daniel 
O'Conor Don, who married the daughter of an apothe- 
cary in Dublin of the name of Ryan. Though I men- 
tion Mr. Ryan as undoubtedly a match much below the 
O'Conors, yet I must say he was highly connected with 
the grandsons of Sir Thomas Cusack of Meath, and- a 
respectable old family of the Nangles, who were mur^ 


dered some years ago in tlie vicinity of Mullingar — 
which circumstance must be still in the recollection of 
many of my readers. The late Dominick O'Conor, who 
died jn August, 1798? ^^'^^ the eldest son by this mar- 
riage. He married the highly accomplished Miss Kelly, 
the eldest daughter of Robert Dillon O'Kelly, Esquire, 
of Lisnanean, or Springforth, near Strokestown, by 
whom he had no issue. Mr. O'Kelly had two daughters, 
co-heiresses : the eldest, as I have observed, married 
Dominick O'Conor Don of Cloonalis-house, and the 
second eloped from the house of Cargins, (where she 
was on a visit,) wuth an attorney of the name of Nolan, 
from the neighbourhood of Tuam. No union could 
^ive more happiness to all parties than that of O'Conor 
Don with Miss O'Kelly, both claiming an equal al- 
liance — he from the ancient princes of the island, the 
O'Conors ; and his lovely consort, paternally, from the 
great O'Kelly of Mullaghmore Castle, connected by 
marriage with the noble house of O 'Moore — her ma- 
ternal kindred those of the O'Briens, princes of Clare 
and Thomond, O'Conor Roe of Strokestown Castle, 
Lady Judith Dillon, the elder sister of James Went- 
worth Earl of Roscommon, and her mother. Miss Dil- 
lon of Lung, maternally allied to the Brabazons of New- 
park, in Mayo, and the Talbots of Belgard Castle, in the 
County of Dublin. 

Nothing was wanting but an heir to entwine the happy 
pair in every blessing — to enjoy the estate of Cloonalis, 
and a moiety of the Kelly estate near Tulsk ; however, God 
did not grant their desire in favouring the illustrious and 
fond pair with issue ; but from their piety and great urba- 
nity, having always company and relieving the distresses 
of their fellow-creatures, no matter what their creed or 
what unknown country gave them birth, they were much 
admired. Sheriff Sandes, in his days of poverty, par- 
took of their munificence, as well as the Catholic Bishop, 


Doctor French of Foxborough, in his exile from Wil~ 
liamite persecution. Such amiable and cemented felicity 
never could be surpassed, said Mrs. Dillon, between 
man and wife, as I have witnessed with Madame O'Co- 
nor and her husband for upwards of twenty years that 
they lived together. O'Conor Don died at his country 
seat (I think) in August, 1798, and his respected relict 
in February, 1814, at her lodgings in Mary-street, in 
the City of Dublin. At his death, in addition to the 
rents annually arising from her moiety of the small 
patrimony of Springforth, to which she became entitled 
on the death of her father, her husband (O'Conor Don) 
left her as a token of his esteem fifty pounds annually, 
to be levied off the estate of Cloonalis ; besides, he made 
her over the lease of a house and about sixty acres of a 
handsome demesne on the immediate banks of the 
copious River Sue or Suck : it is the first residence on 
the banks of this great inland river, which takes its 
source and bursts most magnificently from beneath a 
peak or huge sand-bank in the rustic but rural village 
of Cloonsuck, at which place the estates of O'Conor 
Don, Viscount Dillon, Baron Mount- Sandford, Sir Wil- 
liam Brabazon of Newpark, Arthur French, M.P., and 
Mr. Wills of Willsgrove, in this county, almost come in 
contact with each other. This miserable dowry her old 
brother-in-law, the late Alexander O'Conor, refused to 
pay her, which, unfortunately for the heir presumptive, 
(the present popular and justly-esteemed O'Conor Don 
of Ballinagare,) caused a long and protracted litigation 
between the parties, which amounted, in family incum- 
brances, legacies, and law expenses, to no less a sum 
than ten thousand pounds. The property was put up 
for sale at tlie Royal Exchange, in the City of Dublin ; 
and from what I understood no bidder was allowed to 
offer against the heir-at-law, Mr. Owen O'Conor, who 
undoubtedly was treated unkindly by his kinsman, Sandy 


O'Conorj indeed Madame O'Conor Don did not (or at 
least her base-minded advisers) escape the just censure 
of the public for the exorbitant expenses heaped upon a 
man, who, as his birth-right, was to have inherited the 
property on the demise of two aged bachelors, Sandy 
and Thomas O'Conor, men of high and noble birth, 
but from their eccentric, secluded, pecuniary difficulties 
and habits, hardly known beyond the walls of the smoky 
and despicable hovels in which they lived, and died a 
few years back. The stipulation at the sale, as has been 
before observed, was, that any person bidding against 
the heir-at-law was to pay five hundred pounds. This 
small barrier, however, did not prevent the late Henry 
Moore Sandford, Esq. of Castlerea, from bidding. He 
also joined the auction of 1800, for which he was 
created Baron Mount-Sandford, of Castlerea, in the 
County of Roscommon, which title, on the death of an 
old veteran of seventy-eight, sinks into the same grave 
of extinction with the Castlecootes, the Lecales, and 
many other of those M'orthies who have departed this 
life, without leaving so much as an heir to inherit the 
sinecures, useless stations, and biblical knowledge which 
they prodigally lavished and diflused amongst their 
starving and ragged tenantry. The long catalogue of 
their munificence — for who could sully their revered 
memories ? — I leave to more able and efficient biogra- 
phers, who have more time, and I am sure more money, 
than I have, to describe. 

After Lord Mount-Sandford lost his five hundred 
pounds in bidding against Mr. Owen O'Conor, who had 
his purse-bearer (Long Terence — oi*, what do I say ? — 
Long Jack Farrell, the Connaught iew,) at his elbow, 
he became the purchaser of that part of Cloonalis, and 
the remainder of that estate is in his possession at the 
present time ; and which, were it not for the wanton 
and useless litigation that his enemies carried on to 


incur expense, might have come into his possession 
without one farthing expense, Avhich was the intention 
of Daniel and his heir Dominick O'Conor, Esqrs., when 
they willed the reversion of those estates to their kins- 
man, the heirs of the ancient and romantic Ballina- 
gare — a patrimony in the possession of that family for 
upwards of one thousand years ; and forsooth, that great 
pillar of new-lightism, Lord Lorton, in his sacred cru- 
sades, at a Brunswick Meeting, not many months back, 
was at no small loss, in his address to his brethren in 
piety, the Kilmains, the Clancarthys, the Farnhams, and 
the Gideon Ouseleys, to know (from his recent assump- 
tion or obscurity, as we must suppose,) who this rigid 
Papist (the O'Conor Don) was. Strange times ! — how 
they are altered ! — a ruler in the county, and not know 
O'Conor Don. If those zealots had the modesty to look 
over their own pedigree — surely if not led on by some 
infatuation in diflfusing those acrimonious discords 
under the semblance of enforcing religious knowledge 
upon the natives, suppressing the further growth of 
Popery, and propagating those disgraceful litigations 
that brought some of his Lordship's auditors into great 
celebrity — they would find that O'Conor Don's family 
had an inheritance in that county many centuries pre- 
vious to the barbarous and merciless usurpation that 
unexpectedly threw the ancient patrimony of the mag- 
nificent Abbey of Boyle, and the other manors wrenched 
from the noble house of Coolavin, into the possession of 
his ancestors, now-a-days called the Kingston estates, 
in the County of Roscommon. 

After the lamented death of my husband, said Cathe- 
rine O'Conor Don, I was forced out of my own house 
by Mr. James Hughes, to go on a visit to his family to 
a grand mansion, newly built, in the village of Ballagh- 
aderreen, in Mayo. This Mr. Hughes, added she, was 
my maternal kinsman, as one of the Miss Dillons of 


Lung, in an unguarded hour, eloped with his father, a 
struggling shopkeeper, from some part of Leitrim. — 
However, though some time elapsed before this uncon- 
trolable daughter was noticed by the Dillon family, they 
grew into opulence by their industry, and that was no 
small inducement in forgiving the imprudent alliance 
that some daughters frequently make to the great 
annoyance of their more respectable families. I did go 
to Mr. and Mrs. Hughes's, said she, and only intended 
to stop a few days ; but, to my misfortune, I stopped 
there too longj I lent money which I never got, and 
was dreadfully annoyed before I got out of their clutches. 
I blame Viscount Dillon for many of my misfortunes : 
he was left my guardian and protector, and chief exe- 
cutor in my husband's will. He left the kingdom ; and, 
like many others of the nobility, became an absentee. 
On the death of the Honourable Miss Phibbs, who was 
the daughter of Lord Mulgrave, of Yorkshire, Lord 
Dillon married an actress of the Opera-House in Lon- 
don, by \vhom he had a second family. He took a house 
in Fitzroy-square, and from that period I never saw him 
till the autumn before he died. In the year 1813 he 
visited this country, merely to make new leases to his 
tenantry, where death, with that unkindness with which 
h^ assailed the immortal Sir John Calf, took him by 
surprise. Viscount Dillon was determined, like other 
people of fashion, to die in London, where he could be 
interred with that dignity and pomp due to his great 
ancestors ; but subtle death, more rogueish than a fox, 
took him in the mountains of Mayo, and put an end to 
his pious existence. His Lordshijj's remains were depo- 
sited, in a wooden chest, in the Popish Abbey of Bally- 
liaunus, from which his splendid coffin was stolen by 
some neighbouring rustics, who took the mock-mount- 
ing to be pure gold. This incensed the Dowager in 
Fitzroy-square so much against the Irish paupers in St. 


Giles's, that instead of twopence to each appiicftnt at 
the great feasts at Christmas and Easter, the vulgar 
souls, called the Connaughtonians, only got one half- 
penny as Amen money. 

When I found my money, says Madame O'Conor 
Don, expended at James Hughes's, I came to live on 
my own estate near Strokestown, where I was haunted 
by my good nephew, Bob Nolan, and a priest called 
Father Bryan, There was no man so fond of making 
money by land and cattle-jobbing than the gay Father 
Bryan. My life, says she, was spared, but I was plucked 
of every thing portable. How things went on in the 
under part of the house I cannot say, as Bob Nolan 
managed as he thought proper; but one thing I do 
know, that I was continually tormented with vulgar 
and intrusive visitors. Father James Kelly and his 
niece chiefly lived in the house ; and a thousand others 
came daily, who represented themselves as being allied 
to me either by my father or mother. These are the com- 
forts of an aged and lone gentlewoman, in the remote 
districts of Connaught — continually tormented by a gang 
of itinerant applicants and a group of naked paupers, 
each and every one addressing you as your cousin Kit, 
or your kinsman Pat. From this you m ill see I was 
heartily sick of the country ; but wait a little and you 
will feel for me, says this excellent and much per- 
secuted woman, in a letter to a friend in Dublin : — 
In my old age and unhappy widowhood I put my- 
self under the protection of my ungrateful nephew, 
Robert Nolan; but he changed his mind, and told 
me he had a wish to go into the army, and join a 
new regiment, called the 101st, under the command 
of the Honourable Augustus Dillon, then Member of 
Parliament for the County of Mayo. To this I gave my 
assent, and what pecuniary aid I could conveniently 
spare at the time. He mentioned to me a few days pre- 


vioiis to his going oft' to Hull, in Yorkshire, which wa«« 
the depot or head-quarters of the regiment, that he 
hoped I would not forget him in my will : I answered, 
fi'om the many deceptions I met with since the death of 
my husband, that I should not hold myself responsible, 
by any promise or engagement ; that any friendship in 
my intentions or reminiscences at my death, depended 
solely on his own good conduct. Well, then, Ma- 
dame, says he, will you resign your claim to the Mac- 
Guire estate in Sliverbane to me : 1 answered, Yes. 
'Accordingly, he sent for a neighbouring quack Doctor, 
who sometimes performed the duties of a village school- 
master, of the name of James M'Dermott, an expert 
writer. A deed, adds she, as I thought to the purpose 
I intended, was written ; but it seems the gentiy com- 
bined, and had two deeds. The mock document was 
read to me one night after dinner ; but what did I get 
to sign, while I was adjusting my spectacles, but a deed 
which conveyed all my real and personal estate, goods, 
chattels, plate, moveables, &c. &c., after I departed this 
life, to Robert Nolan, his heirs and assigns. This 
false document was witnessed by an honest party that 
Bob Nolan selected, by special invitation, on the occa- 
sion, which was Mr. Anthony Dillon, a kinsman, and an 
ensign in the same regiment ; Fergus O'Beirne, a shop- 
keeper in the old rotten borough of Tulsk ; and Mr. 
James M'Dermott, who, from being a bleeding doctor, 
became an attorney-at-law. The morning after, it 
seems, this precious and roguish parchment was sold to 
a neighbouring pawn-browker, or money-lender, of the 
name of Jack Farrell, who, as that voracious class of 
persons always assert, advanced the uttermost farthing j 
which, on the whole, was only a few hundred pounds, 
of which young Nolan was in need to equip him for the 
regiment, previous to their going to Canada. Thus, 
says this unfortunate old lady, in the 78th year of my 


age, was I plunged in law with Jack Farrell, a man of 
low birth, who in his early days kept a chandler's shop 
in the very neighbourhood in which 1 was born. Had 
Mr, John Farrell, adds she, when in negotiation with 
my nephew, come to me, I would have satisfied him in- 
stantly with respect to the fraud carried on, to the no 
small injury of both parties. This litigation was brought 
to a record in the Court-house of Roscommon in (I think) 
1812, on which occasion Lieutenant Dillon, to his great 
annoyance, was summoned from Halifax to attend, 
which, by order of his Royal Highness the Com- 
mander-in-Chief, he was obliged to obey. Mr. Dillon, 
after giving his evidence with brevity, and indeed in- 
tegrity, was most unmercifully assailed in the cross- 
examination by Mr. Farrell's bar of lawyers j nor was 
he treated by those of his kinswoman, Madame O'Conor 
Don, with less clemency, for, notwithstanding all his 
trouble and expence, he never received so much as one 
sixpence — although he was threatened with dismissal 
from the service in a few months afterwards, and that in 
the most unjustifiable manner. Most of my readers 
must recollect the sanguinary duel that took place in 
the autumn of 1813, in the Isle of Wight, between Lieu- 
tenants Maguire and Blundell, wherein the unfortunate 
Mr. Blundell, who was only a few days married, was 
mortally wounded ; and, strange to say, Mr. Dillon, who* 
neither aided nor assisted, was thrown into prison for 
four months for not preventing the duel, as being the 
highest in authority in the garrison at the time. I have 
known several duels to take place, but I never knew an 
instance where any of the parties concerned suffered so 
much, and that so unjustly, as Mr. Dillon. All these 
unexpected misfortunes he suffered solely on account of 
Mr. Nolan's deed of sale to Mr. Farrell. So help me 
God, said this worthy young gentleman when I saw him 
in London in 1810, had I known that I was to endure, 

So much trouble and misfortune when 1 parted the regi- 
ment in Halifax, I would have committed suicide on 
leaving that hospitable and charming country. 

Mris. Mary Davis of Castlerea, in her youthful days the 
beautiful and accomplished Miss Dillon of Bracklon, was 
cross-examined by Mr. Farrell's lawyers in a manner that 
excited her feelings so much, that she was obliged to be 
carried out of Court — particularly on some letters that she 
wrote, perhaps carelessly, to Mr. Nolan, (previous to his 
joining the army,) being read. In one of those letters, it 
seems that Mr. Nolan got a pressing invitation to come 
to the chamber of a married lady. They may be false ; 
perhaps Mrs. Davis never wrote such a letter ; however, 
as the lady which this letter alluded to is I hope in a 
better world — ^for the sake of the family with whom she 
was connected, and not for her ovt-n, as in many respects 
they were a disgrace to society — I forbear commenting 
upon the disgraceful conduct and execration of such 
unpardonable levity in either of the females. Much to 
the credit of Mr. Fergus O'Beirne, when examined on 
this great trial he confessed that he was aware, previous 
to his putting his signature to the fraudulent document, 
of Mr. Nolan's intentions to impose on his aunt, with 
no other view than to obtain money from Mr. Farrell to 
purchase uniform and other requisites, in order to make 
that appearance in the regiment his rank as a gentle- 
man and an officer required. Madame O'Conor, I may 
say, gained the suit, but not without great expense, 
and losing the small townland of Cloonart, near Tulsk, 
which was awarded to John Farrell, in lieu of the money 
he advanced. Unquestionably the whole transaction 
was a gross fraud upon an old lady, whose life, from the 
day of her husband's death till the moment of her own 
happy release from this earthly vale of misery and vora- 
ciousness, was nothing but a scene of litigation, fraud, 
and exorbitant exactions; she was often assailed by 


many of her needy and remote kindred by the most 
virulent, unjustifiable, and acrimonious insolence that 
ever fell from the lips of a foul-mouthed Billingsgate — 
even the attention of her own cousin, Tom Dillon of 
Belgard Castle, did not escape their censure; and a 
most daring ruffian, the son of a pedagogue called Jack- 
of-the-TFall, from near Loughrea, who married an ideot 
of the name of French, and getting to be a hackney 
quill-driver in an attorney's office, called himself no less 
a personage than William French Kelly, Esq., had the 
audacity to write her a most insulting letter, couched in 
language too obscene to meet the public eye. This 
Kelly married a sort of a milliner of the name of Davis, 
who in her early days was bound apprentice in Dublin, 
chiefly through the bounty of the benevolent Madame 
O'Conor and some other friends — though (said Madame 
O'C.) I never laid my eyes on this fine woman till, at the 
solicitation of my maid, after repeated calls at my lodg- 
ings in Dorset-street for assistance, I ordered her to be 
shewn to the back-drawing-room, to hear what she had 
to communicate. She said so much, about her kindred 
with the Dillons, Plunketts, Beggs, and her Cromwel- 
lian cousins, the Davises of Cloonshanville, that it 
would puzzle a public reporter to get at either ends of 
her discourse. The atrocities of her ancestors, said 
the Connaught Queen, in the Abbey of Cloonshanville, 
in putting the inmates to the last torture, and demolish- 
ing the noble edifice to that ruinous state in which it 
appears as you pass the French- Park road, is still fresh 
in the minds of the natives of that county. Was I not 
a credulous and a weak woman to believe her ? What 
good could be expected from the progeny of such per- 
secuting ancestors, who slew the priests of the most 
High God, while in the very act of offering the sacrifice 
of the sacred and holy Eucharist in the sanctuary raised 
by the voluntary contributions of the people? They 


got, added she, the spoils and ransacking of the church-— 
that church God ordained to be the house of prayer, 
but which those despoilers turned into a den of thieves. 
But where are they now ? Have they not vanished, and 
the ill-gotten fruits of their oppression gone into strange 
hands ? Nothing remains of the great bulwark of the 
Cromwellian greatness but an old thatched hovel, with 
its mossy and weather-beaten end close by the road 
side ; its front, which is adorned with two small win- 
dows, overlooks this old demolished convent, which is 
the depository of all that was mortal of those brigands 
who espoused the cause of that fanaticism of which the 
humane usurper himself was the high priest. The noble 
ruin of Cloonshanville, which has sternly outlived the 
various vicissitudes and persecutions of many ages, de- 
serves no mean pre-eminence amongst the collections 
compiled by a celebrated author, which he designates 
as The Antiquities of Ireland. But, pardon me, said 
this excellent woman, for following Mrs. Margaret 
Davis, or Kelly, not into the Convent of St. Denis, but 
Cloonshanville. Here I leave her, added she, among 
the bogs of Loughbally, and return to the eminent 
rogue — not lawyer — her husband, ^vho tormented me 
with petitions and recommendations of his integrity and 
fidelity; and if I employed him in any situation as 
deputy agent, or to look over some papers that a person 
of the name of Leonard, an attorney, left unsettled at 
the time of his death, which was premature and sudden, 
many of them vrould be returned without being settled. 
This is the case (in general) with many of those honest 
persons ; and, according to the recent confession of old 
superannuated Lord Eldon, thousands of them profess 
to be lawyers, though their judgment is far from decid- 
ing with equity — to the great injury of the public, they 
fill situations of trust, profit and emolument, which they 


are by no means competent to fill from their want of 
legal knowledge. 

Poor Mr. French Kelly was the last, I am sure, that 
should disgrace the list of attorneys' clerks — for if per- 
jury, open fraud, and the basest forgery that ever was 
attempted to be put forth as a genuine document, is 
to be discountenanced, this French Kelly, by his 
proneness to ardent spirits, spared (in his death) Jack 
Ketch the trouble of alarming that clutch of blue pigeons 
that we see flying on the slapper of Newgate getting a 
sudden jerk, with many a deserving object : Fauntleroy 
or Jemmy O'Brien were hood-winked in adroitness of 
their profession when compared to the heir-presumptive 
of Jack-of-the-TVall. He and his wife followed me, 
says Madame O'Conor, to Strokestown, in the County of 
Roscommon ; and feeling for their great poverty, I or- 
dered my door to be opened to receive them, not think- 
ing they would have the impudence to stop more than 
one night. Far from this, however, they soon made 
themselves masters; and I was only a lodger in the 
house for which I paid rent and taxes. My servants be- 
gan to miss some sheeting and table-linen, but previous 
to any report being made to me of these things, one of 
my trunks had been broken open, and a large sum of 
money, which my steward, Francis Bannahan, paid me 
the day before, taken therefrom, as also some family 
papers ; which honest Margaret Davis, by way of intro- 
ducing herself into high life, brought to a gentleman al- 
lied to the O'Conors, which he owned to me he had in 
his possession. Some time after. Lady Hartland, and 
many others in and about Strokestown, took a dislike to 
visit me, in consequence of this French Kelly and his 
wife being admitted into my house. At this time he 
went to the Most Reverend Doctor Thomas Troy, Ca- 
tholic Archbishop of Dublin, and got £500 in my name. 
He then got himself sworn an attorney of the Courts of 


Jiustice. This, says she, I overlooked, as I did not wish 
to hang the villain. But will you not be surprised when 
I tell you, that he furnished me with a bill of costs to the 
amount of £2000. What he did for it I am at a loss to 
know, save his attention in the suit against Jack Far- 
rell, for which he was doubly paid before he drove a 
quill. In this way, says she, I was tormented, paying 
one knave to up-set the villainy of another. This bill 
was taxed by Master Ellis, who reduced it to £1500. 
My counsel, Mr. Boyd, who afterwards married the 
brisk widow of the late Earl of Belvedere, recommended 
me an attorney, whose name was Killikelly, of Middle 
Gardiner-street, Dublin ; but who was managing clerk 
to this attorney ? — William Davis, the brother-in-law of 
French Kelly. The news that passed, of course, reached 
my enemies ; but between party and party, paying to 
this one and the other, I was as poor as Job. William 
Davis introduced himself to me, by saying he would do 
all in his power to set aside the rogueish intentions of 
his sister and brother-in-law, if I only gave him my 
dividend arising from the effects of William Kelly, who 
kept a flour and whiskey-shop in the town of Strokes- 
town, to whom I lent £500 ; ' but on commencing busi- 
ness as a wine-merchant in Gardiner-street, he called a 
meeting of his creditors, served me with notice of his 
bankruptcy, and to this moment I have not got so much 
as one shilling of that sum — nor do I expect it. William 
Kelly married a Miss Laughing^ from some part of the 
King's or Queen's County — and a pretty joke it was, for 
they laughed me out of my £500. I have to add, that 
after Madame O'Conor Don's death, Mr. Kelly paid 
Davis the few pounds to which, as a creditor, the deceasefl 
lady was entitled. Mr. William Davis was maternally 
allied to the unhappy woman who, in her old age, was a 
prey to various annoyances and gross impositions j and 
to convince his kinswoman of his attachment to her per- 


8oii, Mr. Davis proposed a comfortable lodging, which 
he considered would suit her. To this the weak woman 
assented. This was the unfurnished upper part of a 
house, No. 4 or 6, kept by an attorney of the name of 
Webber, in Gloucester-place. We all know that Glou- 
cester-place is situated at the lower end of Gloucester- 
street, in the City of Dublin, and within one door of 
the straggling end of Mecklenburg-street ; built on that 
low swamp, stolen by degrees, and the assiduity of some 
efficient port-surveyors or civic and turtle Aldermen, 
from the rolling waves of the ocean. The back of Sum- 
mer-hill is inundated during the winter months, and 
the chief part of the spring of the year ; not only this — 
the front of the house looked into a fulsome pool of stag- 
nated mire, and a common dairy-man's cow-yard, in 
which, to add to its diversified and fragrant attractions, 
was a few amorous and squeaking goats, and one or two 
vicious and ungovernable donkeys, besides the con- 
tinual growl of a half starved and filthy watch-dog ; the 
rear view was somewhat more amusing, and better cal- 
culated to enliven and rouse the drooping nerves of a 
religious, disconsolate, and persecuted old woman of 
eighty-four. The back drawing-room was metamor- 
phosed into a bed chamber for the accommodation of 
the superannuated Queen of the great O'Conor Don, of 
Cloonalis Castle, in the County of Roscommon. Any 
person acquainted with the localities of the unfinished 
end of Gloucester street, know that I do not exagge- 
rate when I say, that the waste space (which forms no 
enchanting vista) at the back of the few houses in 
Gloucester-place, is without exception one of the most 
riotous, obscene, and disorderly districts (except the no- 
torious principality of the Great Mogul, well known in 
our police reports as Mud-island,) in the vicinity of the 
Irish metropolis. A row of filthy huts was joined to the 
splendid chamber selected for the happy repose of the 


amiable and highly-accomplished Catherine O'Kelly, 
the widow of a gentleman by birth, urbanity, ami 
education, with the small patrimony that rapacious 
edicts, sequestration, proscription, sanguinary revolu- 
tions, and rapine left. Here was IMadame O'Conor Don 
lodged by Mr. Davis, who, M'e might suppose, had no 
mercenary views, in a neighbourhood such as I have 
described, surrounded with sweeps,^ tinkers, and various 
receptacles for women of ill-fame, who, when the morn- 
ing star threw light on their abandoned infamy, took re- 
fuge in the abominable cells with which Lower Glou- 
cester-street and the vicinity of Aldborough House 
abounds. O what a neighbourhood selected for the re- 
sidence of the nominal Irish Queen ! Her guardians, 
of course, were interested for her longevity, and in sup- 
porting her high birth and the dignity due to her il- 
lustrious ancestors I 

Amongst the list of Madame O'Conor's relatives and 
visitors in those obscure lodgings, were the Earl and 
Countess of Roscommon, Viscount and the Honourable 
Miss Dillon of Fitzroy-square, who were then in Ire- 
land — the Countess D'Alton Begg of Mount-Dalton, in 
the County of Westmeath — Lady Mount-Sandford and 
Miss Oliver — the Catholic Archbishops of Dublin and 
Tuam — the Catholic Bishops of Elphin and Killala — the 
Dowager Lady Hartland and the Honourable General 
Mahon — the Misses Cheevers and Fallon of St. Bran- 
don — Mrs. and Miss Dillon Hearne of Hearnesbrook,. in 
the County of Galway — the O'Conors of Ballinagare, 
Mount-Druid, and Tomona — Mrs. Henry French of 
Cloonequin-House, and Miss Moore — Mrs. and the Misses 
Grace of Mantua-Housc — Mrs. Spaight and Mrs. Fair- 
clought of the County of Clare — Mrs. and Miss French 
of Rocksavage — Mrs. and Miss Dillon of Roebuck — 
Mrs. O'Shee, Mrs. Colonel O'Moore, Major, Mrs. and 
Miss Nugent, Mrs. General Taylor, Mrs. Palles, Mrs. 


O'Moore Farrell of Ballina — Mrs. Nangle, Miss Cusack, 
Mrs. Lee, Mrs. Hilles, Miss O'Neill, Doctor and Mrs. 
Harkan, and the Misses Egan — besides her own imme- 
diate kindred, the Kellys of Tycoola, Turrock, Cargins, 
Screggs, and many others — the Lady Crofton of Sligo — 
Mrs. Mahon of Annaduff — Mrs. Lyster of Newpark, and 
the Honourable Mrs. Butler, at one time the handsome 
Miss French of Frenchp-^vk-House, who first married 
the late Daniel Kelly, of Cargins, Esq., in the County of 
Roscommon. I leave the reader to conjecture, if a lady 
so highly connected and so universally known as Ma- 
dame O'ConorDon, was not worthy of better treatment 
from those who solely lived on her bounty ; and what 
often astonished me, not a soul she ever placed con- 
fidence in, from her husband's death till her own frame 
yielded to the same fate, but deceived her, with the 
exception of her last maid, whose name was Bridget 
Hogan, and a native of Tomona, near Tulsk, in the 
County of Roscommon. She often told me that her 
steward (Francis Banahan) and Bridget Hogan were the 
only friends or domestics that did not deceive her. You 
may rest assured, said this humane and benevolent lady, 
that any of my relatives who are in a hurry with my 
life (thinking that they might gain something by my 
death j, I will live to deceive, with the blessing of God, 
and I will bequeath my property to charitable pur- 
poses. Her friends, however, advised her to give up 
her apartments in Gloucester-place, not only in conse» 
quence of the neighbourhood not being as respectable 
and the lodgings as genteel as they wished, but because 
the wife of William Davis, a woman of the name of 
Biddy Gibbs, who lived as nursery-maid with Mr. Jones, 
was continually quarrelling with her mother-in-law, 
Mrs. Mary Pavis, a relation of Madame O'Conor's, and 
whom she obliged with a bedchamber at her expense. 
Between ]Sir?. Biddy Gibbs and Mrs. Mary Davis, the 


house was turned into a jackco-maco-den, or a tempo- 
rary bear-garden. Indeed, I recollect one inclement 
snowy night, when poor Mrs. Davis, who was undoubt- 
edly born a gentlewoman and had seen better days, was 
obliged to run for her life to my own humble fire-side, 
and remain there for some days, till Mrs. Crean Lynch 
(of Mayo) and Mrs. Matthew O'Conor advanced her 
money to take her home. I never heard Mrs. Davis 
speak unkindly of her son j but her daughter-in-law, 
Biddy Gibbs, she represented as an imperious, insolent, 
and litigious woman. To expect, said she, that she was 
a woman of education, would be impossible ; she was a 
woman of no better pretensions than the generality of 
those little housemaids that we see giggling about Sau7i- 
ders's News-Letter office, in Dame-street. The agree- 
ment, said Madame O'Conor, between William Davis 
and my landlord, Mr. Webber, (whom I understood to 
be nephew or kinsman of that opulent stationer, Luke 
White, of Luttrelstown,) is, that I am to pay him quar- 
terly. The time is coming to a close — send for Gib- 
bon — let him pay him, and take his receipt ; at the same 
time he may tell the gentleman to let his lodgings at the 
quarter's end, as I am going to live in another part of 
the town. I did so accordingly, and got Mr. Webber, 
who lived in the under part of the house, to give me a 
receipt 5 but on telling him of Madame O'Conor's inten- 
tions, he seemed not to relish it much, and made an- 
swer in that austere, disrespectful manner that the 
generality of attorneys are in the habit of doing when 
they have the profitable end of the bargain in their 
power : — I insist. Sir, said he, that your Connaught 
Madame shall not quit this house till I get a quarter's 
rent in advance, as it is my agreement with Mr. Davis, 
who took the apartments, that I must get a quarter's 
rent or three months' notice. What passed between us, 
on handing Madame the receipt, it was, of course, my 


duty to mention. The amiable old lady paused a little, 
and looked stedfastly at a most beautiful and sanctified 
model of the Messiah and the Virgin Mother, which 
hung- opposite where she was seated on an old fashioned 
but rich sofa, on which she frequently reposed when 
her frame began to get weak. O, yes, said she, he must 
have it — any thing to get shut of the French Kellys 
and the Davises ; William Davis is at the bottom of that 
extortion — he and Biddy Gibbs wish to remain here 
three months longer, rent free; do, Gibbon, pay that 
Mr. Webb or Webber — the sooner I web away from 
that gentleman lawyer the better. She sent me out to 
look for genteel apartments — but observed, do not let 
me be gaoled up in a lonesome part of the town, now 
that my resources (save my annual dowry) are purloined 
and exhausted at law, endeavouring to protect my life 
and property against my spurious and knavish kindred — 
the very worst and most dangerous enemies a man or a 
woman ever had are their own needy relatives. They 
affect friendship, but they are dissembling and designing 
blood-thirsty hypocrites. Have we a stronger instance 
of it than in that villain Crawley, who was executed 
here a few years back, and the " Bloody Bodkins," who 
immolated eighteen of their own family, and then set 
fire to the family mansion. However, said she, poor 
William Davis, I am sure, would do nothing to injure 
me. I saw lodgings in Upper Dominick-street, at the 
house (if I dont mistake) of a Mrs. Collins. We agreed 
on the rent ; but I told her that I would not take them 
solely on my own responsibility; if a lady whom I knew, 
and who was honourably interested for the aged lady 
who was to occupy them, approved of the agreement, 
every thing would be adjusted to her advantage. I con- 
sequently called on Mrs. Major Nugent, who was the 
maternal kinswoman of O'Conor Don, and who on every 
occasion paid the greatest attention to his honourable 


relict. On being shown to the sitting room where Ma- 
jor, Mrs. and Miss Nugent were seated, after apologising 
for my intrusion, I imparted the purport of my mission. 
Mrs. Nugent, with that well-known courtesy and urba- 
nity with which her cultivated and noble mind was 
endowed, addressed her daughter in the following 
words : — " Put on your bonnet, Kitty Nugent, and 
let us have your opinion of those apartments that Mr. 
Gibbon is going to take for your kinswoman, Ma- 
dame O'Conor Don." Miss Nugent seemed to like the 
lodgings, but when I made the matter knoAvn to the old 
lady herself, she disapproved of that street, as being too 
far from Denmark-street Chapel, to which she wished 
to live as near as she possibly could. In consequence 
of this we declined Mr. Collins' house, and took apart- 
ments at (I think) No. 40, Mary-street. To this house 
her furniture was moved in August or September, 1813, 
and in which she lived until February, 1814, when she 
suddenly expired. She was generally attended by the 
late Doctor Harkan of Sackville-street, but a trifling dis- 
pute took place between Madame O'Conor and him 
about a bill or bond, in which he requested her to join, 
but she sternly refused. After the Doctor left the draw- 
ing-room she sent for me, but I could not be admitted 
for some time, as Bishop Troy, and Mrs. Hearne of 
Hearnesbrook, were with her ; however, after they took 
their leave, her maid mentioned that I was at her com- 
mand whenever she was pleased to see me. She an- 
swered, do let him come in, as I wish to say something 
to him on business. When I entered the drawing-room 
I was surprised to see her look so Avell and so full of 
spirits and vivacity. *' Doctor Harkan," said she, " has 
been here ; you know I esteem him as a man eminent 
in his profession ; but, let me tell you, I never sent for 
him without paying him : as to put my hand to paper 
for him or any other person I never will— I got enough 


of that work while lodging at James Hughes's. Great 
as I respect him, and indeed he is a worthy man, I will 
not condescend to any such thing." Hearing some 
company coming up stairs, I walked into the back draw- 
ing-room and did not see her for two or three days after, 
when I was sent for to order some wine from Mr. O'Con- 
nor of Cook-street. When I entered the room, Mrs. 
Captain Pallcs and some other ladies were in conversa- 
tion with her. The only observation she made was— *- 
" Order me the usual complement of port wine, and 
see if Hogan (alluding to her maid) is in want of any 
thing." — this was on a Thursday. With some difliculty, 
the snow being very heavy at the time, I obeyed her or- 
ders. In the evening she complained of being very low 
in spirits, but took no further notice ; the morning fol- 
lowing Mrs. Dillon Hearne and her daughter called to 
inquire after her health, and observing a little change 
in her constitution rather inclining to debility, they pro- 
posed sending for a Doctor. Doctor Harkan and I, said 
she, after the ladies had left her, are not noAV, I fear, 
on friendly terms ; he wanted me to join him in a small 
bond of three or five hundred pounds, I can't say which : 
it would be an infatuation in me, even under more aus- 
picious circumstances, to do so j I never will put my 
signature to any document but my will or confession. — 
Then, in an attitude of contrition and solemnity, looking 
at her favorite portrait of our Saviour, she exclaimed, 
" Wliat is the world to me : my God, my God, do not 
forsake me in my old age." At the suggestion of Mrs. 
Major Nugent, Doctor Sheridan of Dominick-street was 
sent for, who prescribed some of these useless lotions 
which the generality of the profession give when the 
hand of death is raised against us. A few days previous 
she had written her confession, which from her earliest 
age she had been in the habit of doing, and afterwards 
reading, while on her knees, to such of the Priesthood 


as were recommended by the Bishop of the diocege i» 
which she might happen to reside. I called on Saturday 
evening, and found her seated in an arm chair, in com- 
pany with an old lady, a Mrs. Keogh, the mother of a re- 
spectable solicitor of that name from the barony of Ath- 
lone. " I thank you, Gibbon," said she, " for your 
attention ; I know you wish me well, and in such 
commissions as I troubled you with I found you a 
trust-worthy person. My time in this world cannot 
be long ; I find myself getting weak and my appetite is 
vanished. A Mr. Maxwell, a man of integrity and great 
reputation in his profession, has orders to be here on 
Monday to take instructions for my last will ; you may 
rest assured I will not forget you. I am about leaving 
the whole of my landed property for charitable purposes 
with trustees, at the head of whom I shall place that 
worthy Prelate Bishop Troy, to see my that my desires 
be carried into execution. The poor and the needy 
shall be cheered and made comfortable, as well as such 
of my friends as have displayed integrity towards me. I 
do not know any person that claimed kindred to me who 
did not, when an opportunity occurred, deceive me." At 
this time she seemed greatly affected and shed tears pro- 
fusely. When she recovered from the pressure on her 
mind, which I think arose from her fear of being called 
from this world without leaving her property settled to 
her wishes, Mrs. Keogh, who had remained silent, and 
was taking some coffee, laid down her cup, and, address- 
ing Madame O'Conor Don, asked her was she going to 
forget both her nephews, the Nolans ? Yes, ma'am, was 
the reply ; they have forgot themselves 5 at least, one of 
them has forgot the family from whom he is naturally 
descended, and the other is solely under the controul of 
a seraglio of abandoned women. Mrs. Keogh, do you 
wish me to contribute for the propogation of vice and 
bastardy ? Pardon me, Madam, replied the Dowager of 


tiie house of Keoijh, I was not aware of that. The re- 
cords of the Courts of Justice and the denouncements of 
the Clergy, said Madame O'Conor, will convince you if 
you doubt my word. I think, said she, with the assist- 
ance of God, I will live to see all I am possessed of di- 
vided amongst the poor. Think of my aunt Dillon of 
Belgarde Castle who Uved to be 99, and I am getting as 
good health and live as regular, if not more so, than ever 
she did. True, Ma'am, replied Mrs. Keogh ; but it seems 
every generation is abridged in their maturity and lon- 
gevity. Indeed, said Madame O'Conor Don, I have not 
been the same since I heard of Lord Dillon's death — a 
H man so strong, and of so good a constitution, to be 
cut off so suddenly ; however, he has left his family 
happy, with a competence to support their dignity. His 
favourite daughter, says she, died at the Dillon mansion, 
Oxfordshire, some time ago, and his youngest was lately 
married to a Reverend Gentleman, brother to the Duke 
of St. Alban's. The Beauclercs, adds she, are de- 
scended from that profligate libertine Charles the First, 
by the celebrated Nell Gywnn, the favourite mistress of 
that satire M'riter, Fielding. Both he and Miss Dillon 
liave no small claim to the stage ; therefore glass win- 
dows are too brittle to crack at each other. His Lord- 
ship told me that his daughter, Lady Webb, is a rigid 
Catholic ; while the children of a Frenclnvoman that he 
lately married are, on the contrary, the most bigoted Lu- 
therans. You see (looking at Mrs. Keogh) how hard 
it is to find even that union which one would expect 
(from the fanaticism of the times) in the offspring of one 
parent. As for the dear man himself, it is hard to say 
in which faith he departed this life. He was the first 
apostate in the noble house of Loughglin ; and was be- 
yond thirty when smitten by the ncAV doctrine of the re- 
formation. Is it any wonder then, that the re«collections 
of Popery was haunting his mind when the voracious 



gout had a hold of his heart and the pit of his delicate 
stomach. One Parson Palmer, says she, offered his 
pious services a fev/ liours previous to this accomplished 
peer closing his eyes on all that was dear and valuable 
to him in this world ; but whether the revered Viscount 
felt satisfied that Doctor Palmer's recommendation was 
an unnecessary passport at that awful crisis, or that the 
sorrowful and humble contrition of his own heart would 
be of infinite more importance, I cannot say ; and from 
what little Tom Hughes tells me, who is the very focus 
of information in these mountainous districts (called 
Costcllo and Keich-Currin), his Lordship passed off 
without a groan, and without the aid of priest or mi- 
nister. He had his faults, adds she, but on the whole he 
was an accomplished worthy man. Madame O'Conor 
turned the conversation, by saying that Mr. Kelly of 
Cargins, who called upon her that day, told her, in the 
course of conversation, that her friend (Lord Dillon) 
had the most splendid funeral that ever graced the ob- 
sequies of any nobleman in that country. Yes, says she, 
now-a-days they carry their pride into the very grave 
with them; all these silk robes and fine linen should 
not be thrown into the mire of the grave ; the expenses 
incurred on these occasions should be reserved for more 
meritorious objects — the houseless widow, the hungry 
orphan, the hoary-head and feeble old man, the aban- 
doned female should be reclaimed, and dissuaded from 
her wicked life, and from seducing her yet unpolluted 
victims, and the unemployed (those disposed to work) 
encouraged — all these objects are worthy of our com- 
miseration. " Woe unto you. Scribes and Pharisees, 
you lay burdens on the people that you yourselves would 
not touch with your fingers ; you go round the sea and 
land to make one proselyte ;" and when you have him 
bought over, by bribe or otherwise, you make him ten- 
fold more the child of hell than when you took him 


under your especial care. In no country in Europe, 
says this excellent and refined-minded woman, are the 
poor so shamefully and so ungratefully neglected as in 
Ireland : pass the streets and the hamlets, and the chief 
object that attract your notice is a group of half-starved 
and naked paupers. I think, adds she, Mr. Kelly has a 
strong notion to purchase my moiety of the Lisnaneas 
estate. He is in want of turbary for the house of Car- 
gins ; and with that commodity he can be abundantly 
supplied on my patrimony, in the immediate neighbour- 
hood of his own residence. After a short pause : In- 
deed, Mrs. Keogh, says Madame O'Conor, I never see 
young Dan Kelly that I dont think of his uncle Dennis 
Kelly, who was shot by Whaley of Stephen's-green. He 
was the second son of my dear relation, Ignatius Kelly, 
by his kinswoman. Miss Kelly of Turrock, in the Barony 
of Athlone. He was intended for the bar ; but unfor- 
tunately he andWlialey, the son of the celebrated Burn- 
chapel Whaley, and the brother of Lady Clare, met at 
a house in College-green, notoriously known as the 
Hell-Jire Club, where, it seems, this blinking Whaley in- 
sulted Mr. Kelly so grossly, that the foolish youth, who 
was only turned twenty at the time, insisted that he 
should fight him ; and from the room in which the dis- 
pute occurred they proceeded to the Barley Fields. — 
Kelly, who it seems was in a state of inebriation, fired 
first, but was instantly shot dead by Whaley. His body 
was twenty-four hours in a stable, at the back of Ste- 
phen's-green, before any of his friends knew of the 
melancholy transaction, which plunged his ancient and 
numerous relatives into the deepest affliction. I felt 
sincerely for both his sisters. Lady Crofton of Sligo, and 
Mrs. Lyster of Newpark, near Athlone. Whaley was 
brought to the bar of justice, as it was insinuated he 
took a deadly aim at his victim ; but Whaley's faction, the 
FitzGibbons, the Beresfords, and others of that party. 


rait high ill those days, and he was acquitted. He was- 
tried afterwards for killing a poor coach-driver, at hrs 
own door in Deiizil-street ; but it seems the deceased's 
widow compromised the atrocity for thirty pounds. Mr. 
Whaley^ adds she, treated his amiable wife unkindly. 
He, however, has another bar to appear before, where 
neither bribe nor faction will avail him anything, God 
grant he may meet more mercy than he showed the poor 
innocent and justly esteemed Denis Kelly of Cargins, 
I took my leave, for the last time, of this noble-minded 
and excellent lady. I left her, Mrs. Keogh, and her 
own maid together ; and I thought she seemed in better 
spirits than I had seen her for some time. This was on 
Friday evening j and the urgency of business calling me 
away, I had not an opportunity seeing her again, as 
she died on the Monday morning following. I cer- 
tainly imagined she would live many years longer. — 
But, alas ! death is certain, but the time and place un- 
certain. Her faithful maid, Hogan, and the other ser- 
vants, found her dead in her bed, about nine o'clock in 
the morning, which was the usual hour to go in to her 
bed-room. The Most Reverend Doctor Troy was sent 
for immediately, as it was understood she had willed her 
property to him for charitable purposes, much on the 
same plan as that of Lord Dunboyne and the Nctterville 
munificence. His Lordship locked up all her trunks, 
plate, papers, &c. &c.; but on French Kelly presenting 
a will, made, as he insinuated, in his favour in 1811, 
Bishop Troy (very injudiciously, I must own,) came with 
him to Madame O'Conor's apartments, handed him all 
her keys, papers, and property. French Kelly imme- 
diately ordered her remains out of the bed-room, and 
locked himself up there for some time, where he ob- 
tained possession of all her plate, private letters, and 
family papers, to which he had no claim whatever — it 
was a barefaced robbery, for of all other men in exist- 


encc, the same notorious imposter was the last whom 
she wished to possess her property, or know any thing 
of her private affairs. This I assert in the face of the 
W'orld as truth, and many who are still alive can con- 
firm it to be so. William Kelly, or French Kelly, or 
what you will, is gone to meet his reward, to another 
and I hojje a better world ; but his honest and con- 
scientious widow, Margaret Davis, is still in the land of 
the living — and I dare her to contradict me : I saw the 
good woman praying in Marlborough-street Chapel a 
short time ago — I hail her contrition. We sinners must 
pray, and do penance hard, or we perish. Did Ireland, 
or any other Christian country, ever witness more atro- 
cious fraud than that carried on to persecute and em- 
bitter the last moments of one of the most noble-minded 
women that ever graced the honourable circle in which 
(during her husband's lifetime) she moved, and to which 
(it will be acknowledged even by her worst enemies) 
she was an ornament. God forgive her tormenters. 
Many of them are " gone to that bourne from whence 
no traveller e^er returns,'* and I hope met with more 
clemency than they shewed the nominal Connaught 
Queen under the cloak of friendship. A long catalogue 
of false, and indeed spurious relatives, pervaded and 
haunted her, and like an epidemic contagion kept close 
to her heels wherever she went, and were as familiar at 
her door in the metropolis, as they were in the moun- 
tains of Costello, or the fens of Strokestown ; they 
availed themselves of her age, weakness, and the other 
infirmities incident to the human frame between sixty 
and eighty-four. During that period she was a prey to 
the grossest and basest imposition. Many of them were 
most assiduous in their allegiance and fidelity towards 
her Majesty, as they were pleased to call her ; and in 
particular that impure combustible of the most glaring 
and flagitious fraud, William French Kelly, Esquire, 


who, previous to his being sent to that receptacle for 
honester folks, his Majesty's gaol, assumed the title of an 
attorney. This Shylock goes on his bended knees, un- 
sought and unsolicited, to swear to be faithful, to all in- 
tents and purposes — not to himself, poor soul, for he 
was heedless in that way — but to Catherine Lavinia 
O' Conor Don, of the manor of Cloonalis, in the County 
of Roscommon. 

Surely any person who reads the aforesaid abridged 
sketch of the lamented and recently created attorney's 
life, must say that he fulfilled those sacred engage- 
ments. Notwithstanding his robbing her of five hun- 
dred pounds, by which he had himself rigged out, to the 
no small astonishment of those who knew him in his 
ragged full dress in Mass-lane, and enrolled his immor- 
tal name on the list of attorneys, he took every other 
disgraceful advantage in low pelf; and the robbery that 
took place in her house at Strokestown, when a large 
sum of money was taken out of her trunk, with a family 
deed of no consequence, save to the heirs in possession 
of the estates of Ballintober or Cloonalis, from what I 
understood from Madame O'ConorDon some time after, 
a gentleman (in no small estimation in that salubrious 
county) confessed that he got the deed which was car- 
ried off with the rest of the stolen property. The person 
who delivered him that document was the wife of French 
Kelly or her mother; and is it not obvious (besides 
several other substantial proofs) that the persons who 
stole the family deed also took the money that was depo- 
sited in the same locker. But what need I dwell here, 
or lay any stress on the reader, in supporting my asser- 
tions of the villainy of the insidious gang who assailed 
with vituperation and the most insulting acrimony Ma- 
dame O' Conor Don, and particularly that wholesale 
monopolist in rapine, Mr. French ICelly, into Avhose 


hands the whole of her personal property fell imme- 
diately on her departure from this life, and also her last 
confession, of which the monster at the time boasted, 
with a 25s. note attached thereto. I hope the great 
and merciful God has forgiven so base a wretch ! — Is it 
not heinous in the sight of all men of honour, virtue, 
morality, or feeling, to think that any man, let him be 
ever so base, worthless, or void of those noble feelings 
with which at intervals the most reprobate characters 
are endowed, would retain and exult with impunity in 
having that confession in his and his worthless wife's 
possession. O God ! %vho sees and knows all our evil 
thoughts and manifold transgressions, forgive the malig- 
nant perpetrators of so wicked and revolting an outrage 
against thy laws. The twenty-five shilling note pinned 
to her confession, her maid told me, was for the Rev. 
Mr. Walsh of Denmark-street, in the City of Dublin, 
who was many years Madame O'Conor's Confessor. — 
The late Mr. Nolan of Queensforth, in the County of 
Galway, the nephew of Madame O'Conor, who was 
heir-at-law, and French Kelly, who married the niece 
of Paul Davis, Esq. of Cloonshanville, near Frenchpark, 
decided their severe contest about the old lady's property 
at a record in Roscommon, in March, 1815. French 
Kelly produced a will, if I do not mistake, purporting 
to be made in 1810 or 1811 ; and I have some reason to 
think that Madame O'Conor did put her signature to 
some document favourable to this French Kelly, as she 
thought him very faithful to her at the time ; but on 
finding him and ***** gross impostors, and having 
the audacity to insult her in her own house, she changed 
her mind, and instead of their being her favourites and 
friends, became her most inveterate enemies, and con- 
tinued at law until the unfortunate lady's death, which 
was chiefly owing to the forged or falselteed of convey- 
ance that her nephew (Bob Nolan) imposed upon her, 


and sold as genuine to the late John Farrell of Bally- 
glass, in this county. From the general character, how- 
ever, of French Kelly, which was any thing but credit- 
able or supported with integrity, while harboured out 
of charity in the house of the lamented lady, who in 
her old age was a prey to such a merciless and rapacious 
rabble, there was another transaction m hich the unfor- 
tunate knave was guilty of, and that was a glaring and 
obvious erasure in expunging the name of some friend 
of the parties at the time, and substituting that of Mr. 
William Kelly, who now carries on the business of a 
wine merchant in Gardiner-street, in the City of Dublin. 
These little forgeries corresponded with many other 
flagitious rogueries detected in this precious document. 
It was perceivable that Mr. French Kelly, like many 
others who are endeavouring to support a bad cause, 
engaged the whole strength of the Connaught Bar; 
amongst whom 'svas Counsellor Boyd, and a great puff 
he was, just going to get married to the rich and dis- 
consolate widow of old Rochford, commonly called the 
Lord of the Lakes or Belvedere. This was a strange 
change in Mi". Boyd, who was the leading Counsel of 
Madame O'Conor against French Kelly and others for 
years. The first witness called to prove this will was 
John Davis, an attorney, and the first cousin of Mrs. 
French Kelly. This champion of the law seemed (from 
his testimony) to injure the cause of his honest friend 
and colleague more than render it any substantial ser- 
vice. The next who came to support this lame-legged 
testament were the two Mr. Finnigans : their trade (as 
they confessed, which caused a general laugh) was that 
of tinkers ; they lived in the same house in Moore-street, 
in the City of Dublin ; they occupied the under part — 
the remainder of the house was let to weekly tenants. — 
Just so. Well, Mr. Finnigan, have you any recollec- 
tion of being called one evening to witness a will ? — I 


Imve. Where did tlie person reside? — At the Pipe 
Water-Office in Dorset-street, and within a few doors 
of Granby-row. Who was the person that received you 
when you went there ? — On going there I accompanied 
a tenant of mine, Mr. French Kelly, who introduced me 
to an elderly lady as his landlord. Did Mr. French 
Kelly mention your name to the lady ? — I think he did. 
What did he say ? — As well as I recollect, he mentioned 
to the lady that I was Mr. Finnigan. Was the lady 
young or old ? — A very old lady, and as far as I could 
perceive, a high bred woman, entirely beyond the com- 
mon run that shopkeepers meet in the course of business. 
What hour might it be ? — About eight o'clock in the 
evening. Did you get any refreshment there? — Yes, 
cake and wine. Did the lady seem quite sensible of 
what was going on ? — Apparently she did. Did you 
delay long there ? — Only a few minutes. Who was 
there at the time ? — Mr. French Kelly, my son, myself, 
and the lady whom we met there. Did you all come 
away together ? — No ; Mr. Kelly remained after us.— 
This witness was cross-examined by Mr. Daniel, of 
Mountjoy-square, who was Mr. Nolan's leading Counsel. 
Your name is Finnigan ? — Yes, Sir. What business do 
you follow ? — I am a tinker, genteelly called a brazier. 
Have you resigned business ? — I have. You made your 
fortune, I suppose ? — No, Sir ; I have been rather unfor- 
tunate — I failed in business. Now, Mr. Finnigan, as a 
gentleman, will you tell those highly respectable gentry 
in the Jury box how often you were in the Sheriffs' 
Prison ? — I almost forget, Sir ; I think three times. — 
Now, Mr. Finnigan, upon your honour, how many 
glasses of raw whiskey did you take the day you were 
called to sign the late Madame O'Conor's last will and 
testament ? — I do not recollect. How many glasses do 
y^u take this cold weather to ea^e your cough ? — Some- 



times two or three rope-dancers (a laugh), according as 
the wind blows, or in other words, according- as my 
friends and myself raise the wind. The evidence of the 
other Finnigan was much in the same strain, and of no 
importance to be recorded, except that they both swore 
to their signatures, and that the old lady signed the will 
in their presence, as Catherine O'Conor Don. 

The next witness called on behalf of Mr. Nolan, was 
the Most Rev. Doctor Thomas Troy, Catholic Arch- 
bishop of Dublin, and being sworn, said he knew Ma- 
dame O'Conor for many years ; saw her when very 
young, with her aunt Dillon, at Belgard Castle; saw 
her afterwards very often, while at school in King-street 
Nunnei-y ; was very intimate with her some years be- 
fore her death ; the lady's intentions were to bequeath 
her property for charitable institutions ; told him she 
had no will made ; he resigned her keys, and such pro- 
perty as was in her apartments, to the gentleman who 
calls himself French Kelly, a few hours after the la- 
mented lady's death, as he shewed him a will, which he 
represented was made some years back in his favour, 
and observed that he was sure she forgot that such a 
document w^is extant, as they were not on good terms 
for some time before her death. This witness was not 

Mrs. MacDonnell of Coonmore-house, in Mayo, was 
the next witness on behalf of Madame O 'Conor's ne- 
phew. She knew Madame O'Conor Don from her child- 
hood ; she M^as allied to her father through a connexion 
with the Dillon family ; she never heard so base and so 
bad a character of any person as that given by the late 
Madame O'Conor of the gentleman who calls himself 
Mr. French Kelly, and who now claims her paternal 
property. By Counsel — Is that long back, Madame, 
since you got this character of this mighty heir of the 


Connaught queen ? — Two days previous to her death. 
Did you see the lady as late as February, 1814? — I did. 
Where did she reside then ? — In Mary-street. On your 
oath, Madam, did she tell you of her trunks being robbed 
in her house in Strokestown ? — She did. What did 
Madame O'Conor say she lost out of her lockers at the 
time ? — In a small paper parcel she tied up twenty-five 
or thirty pounds in bank notes, and put them into a 
small trunk, in which were some gold and loose silver, 
private letters, and a family deed j the trunk was moved, 
and the lock broken, and the trunk left back in the 
place. How near Madame O'Conor Don's bed-cham- 
ber did Kelly and his wife sleep ? — In the next room. 
Who did the lady suspect for the theft ? — Mr, French 
Kelly. On your oath. Madam, did she tell you so ? — 
She did. Did she tell you that she consulted any 
person about the robbery ? — She did, her Counsel, Mr. 
Boyd. From the bad character that she gave of Mr. 
French Kelly, dont you imagine that he is the last man 
on this earth she would leave her real and personal pro- 
perty to ? — I am convinced he is. You have no hosti- 
lity to Kelly or his wife, any more than to do justice ? — 
Not the least ; from their bad treatment to her I must 
own I dont like them, as, from the various complaints 
Mrs. O'Conor Don made of their infamous conduct to- 
wards her, it could not be supposed that I could like 
them ; but let it not be understood that I have any per- 
sonal hatred towards the Kellys — I hold any improper 
character in the same contempt, no matter what claim 
they might have on my friendship or kindred. Do you 
recollect, Mrs. MacDonnell, that your kinswoman told 
you of any other money of hers that French Kelly 
turned to his own use ? — I do ; five hundred pounds he 
obtained from Bishop Troy of Rutland-square. The 
cross-examination of this witness by Mr. Vandeleur and 


Mr. Cranipton, did not in the least elucidate any tiling" 
to shake her excellent testimony; and her answers to 
both counsel were marked with judicious humility and 
unbiassed integrity. This lady is the widow of the 
late Myles MacDonnell, Esq. of Doo Castle, in Mayo, 
and the eldest daughter of the late James Hughes, 
Esq., by Miss Kean of Keansbrook, near Carrick-on- 
Shannon, in the County of Leitrim. Mr. Hughes was 
maternally allied to the Dillons of Lung, Bracklon, and 
Belgard Castle, in the County of Dublin, as also to the 
Brabazons of Newpark, in Mayo, a junior branch of the 
ancient and illustrious house of the Earls of Meath. 

The last witness on this interesting trial was Mrs. 
Hilles, the wife of James Hilles, Esq., a merchant in 
Abbey-street, in the City of Dublin. Mrs. Hilles is the 
only daughter of Francis Coyne, Esq. of Clogher, near 
Boyle, in this county, by Miss Farrell of Corker, and 
the niece of John Farrell of Bloomfield, Esq. Mrs. 
Hilles knew the late Madame O'Conor since she was at 
a boarding-school in a nunnery in the town of Galway; 
O'Conor Don and she went there for the benefit of 
bathing during the summer months, and Madame 0*Co- 
nor called in her carriage to see her ; the high com- 
pliment paid her she never forgot ; consequently, when- 
ever she knew her to be in Dublin she always paid her 
a visit, at least once a week — sometimes oftener; a 
more amJable woman she never knew, nor a woman in 
her advanced state of life endowed with more humility 
and munificence to those in distress, or urbanity in her 
manners and deportment; in her whole frame was 
combined a multiplicity of those rare virtues seldom to 
be met with in this age, and yet she never knew any 
woman more unjustly persecuted or more virulently 
assailed by those who claimed her kindred; her idea 
was that those persons felt quite unhappy that their vic- 
tim lived so long, that they might fight dog fight bear; 


nnd indeed her opinion was verified in the action now 
before the Court. She saw Madame O' Conor two days 
previous to her death, and sat some time in her bed ■ 
chamber ; she found her in every respect as sensible in 
her conversation and as strong in her memory as at any 
other time that she happened to talk on her affairs ; she 
told her she had the form of a will written, wherein she 
was leaving her property (with the exception of trifling 
legacies) for charitable institutions, to be distributed by 
Doctor Troy and his successors; she reprobated the 
insidious conduct of French Kelly and his wife, and 
some others of her own kindred, whose base fraud 
plunged her in a wanton litigation with my uncle and 
others, which left her going to her grave poor and pen- 
nyless, so much so, that she could hardly procure the 
common necessaries of life, or keep a man servant as a 
protection to her in her old age. Mr. Daniel asked her 
if she knew Mr, French Kelly ? — She said she never saw 
him but once, according to her recollection. Mrs. 
Hilles, be so kind as to tell the gentlemen in the Jury box 
what you knew of him on that occasion ? — ^The Monday 
morning on which Mrs. O'Conor died, (having heard of 
it from a lady in LifFey-street Chapel,) I and a Miss 
O'Neil, now Mrs. Burke, of the County of Galway, pro- 
ceeded to the deceased lady's lodgings j her maid admit- 
mitted us to the drawing-room, where the corpse was 
laid on a table, without a human being in the room. I 
expressed my surprise at seeing the remains of a lady 
who was only a few hours dead removed from her bed- 
room. Her maid replied, that French Kelly ordered 
her to remove the corpse, a^ he wished to examine her 
trunks and papers. I threw myself, said the worthy 
woman, on a sofa, being so much oppressed at what I 
heard ; so help me God, (save the last view I had taken of 
all that was mortal of my own parent,) nothing ever so 
touched my feelings at the moment than seeing the 


remains of as amiable and honourable a woman as ever 
breathed, a prey and under the merciless persecution of 
so unfeeling a wretch ; even after death put an end to 
her sufferings on this earth, to see all that remained of 
her puissant greatness and high lineage insulted with 
impunity by so worthless and rapacious a knave. Af- 
ter shedding tears for the misfortunes of the object be- 
fore my face, and reflecting how uncertain our views 
and expectations were in this world, in which melan- 
choly sensibility I was joined by Miss O'Neil and the 
maid, who seemed to feel the same pangs of over- 
whelming grief; and after sitting and undergoing for 
some time those melancholy and sad reflections gene- 
rally felt on those occasions, Mrs. Harkau of Sackville- 
street was ushered in, accompanied by a young lady ; 
next walked in the defendant, French Kelly, who, on 
entering the room, did not notice any person seated 
there, and behaved in the most rude and insolent man- 
ner, going up to the fire, throwing up the filthy skirts 
of a threadbare great coat, and putting his back to 
the grate, began to amuse his wicked thoughts by 
shaking his leg, on which was an old top boot that 
seemed to have seen better days on their former owner. 
Pray, Madam, said one of the lawyers, did the attorney 
affect no more grief for the loss of a lady who seemed so 
interested for him than what you describe ? — If whistling 
denote grief, said Mrs. Hilles, it was all I could recog- 
nise. You never saw the new squire before or after ?— ; 
No, Sir, until within these few minutes, when I saw him 
in this Court. Mrs. Hilles underwent a long cross- 
examination by French Kelly's lawyers — I think Mr. 
North and George French of Eccles-street, (the latter 
confessed afterwards that he was afraid to attack her.) 
The chief of the cross-examination was to shew the 
Jury that Mrs. Hilles was personally hostile to Mr.. 
French Kelly, in consequence of the able part he had 


taken respecting- the false deed of conveyance that Robert 
Nolan sold to her uncle, Mr. John Farrell of Bloomfield. 
All, however, was uselesfi. Mrs. James Hilles gave the 
most luminous evidence that ever was given in the 
Court-House of Roscommon ; and the present inheritor, 
Mr. Robert Nolan, late of the 101st regiment, is much 
indebted to her, or the estate of Lisnanean would at this 
present moment be in the possession of the attorney's 
clerk, French Kelly, of the town of Loughrea, or his 
heirs. Not only what I have described, but other inva- 
luable and legal information respecting the frauds of the 
French Kellys and Co. was also obtained through Mrs. 
Hilles. It is obvious that from the aversion that Ma- 
dame O'Conor Don had for the Nolans, as well as the 
French Kellys and the Davises, that it was not her 
intention to leave so much as one farthing to any of 
those I have mentioned ; but as she died intestate, it 
was of course natural to suppose that her nephew, Mr. 
Kelly Nolan of Queensforth, had the best claim to her 
property, which he obtained, to the no small rejoic- 
ing of a crowded Court. The Honourable Mr. Justice 
Johnston was the presiding Judge ; Mathew O'Conor, 
Esq. of Mount-Druid, was the Foreman of the Jury, 
who were highly respectable; and amongst whom were 
John Young of Castlerea — Mark Low of Lowville — 
Thomas Nolan of Castlecoote, Esqrs., and indeed eight 
other gentlemen of equal respectability. If the unfor- 
tunate French Kelly followed the humble avocation in 
life to which he was brought up — and had not, through 
the folly of his vain and ambitious wife, who had no- 
thing on earth to boast of but being descended from ^he 
Dillons and Davises, two unfortunate families who had a 
long pedigree and a short rent-roll, and what was worse, 
by tracing them to their remotest origin, were only 
placed in this kingdom as the immortal Hudson Lowe, 
who, if we believe my friend, Barry O'Meara, was lower 

120 ^ 

than many honest men would wish to be, as a wateh on 
the natives, and if they exceeded the mild edicts or 
boimds prescribed, had them hung or shot genteelly at 
their own door or on the next gibbet, until the good- 
natured vultures of some neighbouring havoc or demo- 
lished ruin picked the flesh off their bones, for fear (as 
we must naturally surmise) that those spectres, which 
%vere so prevalent in those days of sanguinary rapine, 
would increase the epidemic contagion that unfortu- 
nately raged, aided by the many other privations in all 
parts of this country, and in no district more so than 
in those parts of Roscommon under the humane gover- 
norship of the Dillons and the never- forgotten Davises — 
if this Jack-of-the-PFall, commonly called French Kelly, 
as I have observed, followed his daily and nightly labour, 
earning his penny per sheet amongst his brethren on 
the scriveners' grazy bench in any of the nests of litera- 
ture in town, the unlamented limb of litigation would 
not add to the long list of Radford Roes who put the 
country to the frequent expense of a parish coffin, to have 
their remains deposited in the family vault in his Ma- 
jesty's gaol of Newgate, or, for the benefit of the fra- 
grant air, in Bully's Acre at the sign of the platform on 
Kilmainham common. 

I have observed before, that Honora O'Conor, the 
daughter of Dowell, of Mantua, near Elphin, was the 
lady by whose exertions the house of O'Conor, now ex^ 
taut, was built j unquestionably the site selected reflects 
no small honour on the lady's memory, as it embraces 
several natural advantages. The mansion is situated 
on a verdant lawn, secluded by a handsome round fort 
from the intrusion of strangers : the fort in itself is a 
cooling and delightful shade, covered with drooping wil- 
lows, reclining majestically into the River Suck, w^hich 
swells in all its magnitude, and throws its radiant rays 
on this antique residence, delightfully adorned and 


protected by the mature oak, sycamore, and various 
shrubs of evergreen which spontaneously co-operate to 
beautify with their fragrant and never-fading mantle 
the castle terrace and serpentine walks in and about the 
house of Cloonalis. Though Honora Dowell, s^id my 
father, was no welcome guest to her mother-in-law, the 
Lady Anne Birmingham O'Conor Don, still her for- 
tune, only a few hundred pounds, enabled them to im- 
prove their small and mountainous patrimony and build 
a respectable house in place of a low smoky hovel in 
which they resided, after being expelled from their an- 
cient and noble seat at Castlerea. Lady Anne O'Conor, 
added he, of the puissant house of Athenry, and the ma- 
trimonial niece of the great O'Brien, Prince of Thomond 
and Clare, was a very imperious woman, and wished her 
son to be married to the heiress of O'Moore of Cloughan 
Castle, and though the Dowells possessed the chief of 
the estate of O'Flanagan, called the Mantues and the 
Callows, a large tract of low swamp and a deep moor, 
which in rainy weather and during the winter months 
forms into a beautiful lake and almost inundates some 
miles in the vicinity of that riotous district, well known 
as Loughaughreagaugh, I must own they were con- 
nected with respectable families, such as the Dillons of 
Belgarde Castle, and the Graces of Gracefield, in the 
County of Kilkenny. Even so, the O' Conors Don felt 
somewhat indignant at the connexion, which I am sorry 
to say proved unfortunate, and was verified in the de- 
portment, intemperance, and austerity which the lady 
shewn after her marriage, and on no occasion more so 
than on her insulting, at her own table, her husband's 
kinsman, Daniel O'Conor Don, the last Prince of the 
house of Ballintober, who lived a single life, and was ma- 
ternally allied to the Burkes of Meelick and the Butlers 
of Thomastowu, to the latter of whom he bequeathed the 
residue of his former domains, such as Ballintober, Too- 


mana, Endfield, Carraghreagh, Bracklon, ami some other 
manors in the vicinity of that ancient and majestic ruin 
of royalty called the Castle of O'Conor, leaving the he- 
reditary estates to strangers. This caused that memo- 
rable law suit, so long pending, between the O'Conors 
and the Butlers, and which undoubtedly would have 
terminated in favor of the O'Conors, were it not for the 
foolish conduct of the late Sandy O'Conor, who died a 
few years back at his favorite hut near Castlerea. The 
dispute originated between two factions, about a Priest 
of the name of Magrath, who was fosterer to the 
O'Conors Don, and whom they wished to possess the 
extensive Parish of Ballintober : on the other hand they 
were vehemently opposed by a resident of the parish, 
who wished (and who could blame him ?) to have his 
own kinsman and namesake Parish Priest. In this man- 
ner, unfortunately for the O'Conors of Ballinagare, the 
county was convulsed — so much so, that cannon were 
ordered from the Castle of Dublin. The Rev. Mr. Ma- 
grath was brother to a tanner of that name who lived in 
the town of Castlerea, and who, on his marriage with a 
woman of the name of Compton, the daughter of an old 
English pensioner, embraced Protestantism, in lieu of 
which the leathern neophyte got leases from the Sand- 
fords and the Frenches of Frenchpark of some farms in 
that neighbourhood, by which he accumulated some 
money. His grandson, a worthy gentleman, is Rector 
of Shankliill in the County of Carlow, and many othei*s 
of that family are much respected ^ however, Sandy 
O'Conor was sent to prison for the outlaw and battery 
which he foolishly raised in the country, where the Cloo- 
nalis and the Corristoona factions, with Big Roger Conor 
and his sons at their head, were arrayed against each 
other. Prince Sandy stood his trial and was acquitted, 
as the Protestant aristocracy of the county — the Mahons, 
Saadfords, smd the Cootes of Castlecoote, felt more for 


the weakness of his mind and the deficiency land gross 
neglect of his education in his early days, than any de- 
termination to visit such ludicrous absurdities with fur- 
ther coercion than sending him home to be placed under 
the protection of Molly Egan, a good natured woman, 
who nursetended the Prince many years. When one 
Ledwich of Ballymahon, in the County of Longford, 
found his Majesty's troops with a few cannon in that 
country, he availed himself of calling in their aid to dis- 
possess a little squire in the mountains of Dunmore, of 
the name of Geoghegan, on pretence that his ancestors 
had mortgages on one or two marshes, for centuries in 
the possession of the great O'Geoghegans. The unfor- 
tunate Geoghegans fled in all directions, and, from being 
mountain squires and village rulers, became itinerant 
paupers. I recollect myself seeing the honorable ex- 
heir of Dismal Glen, long Ned Geoghegan, who had 
what are vulgarly called bow legs, and was many years 
a plucker in, or a sort of enticing serjeant in this dis- 
trict. I have only to add, that it was by the insult 
Honora Dowell of Mantue gave old Daniel O'Conor, that 
the heirs of Cloonalis and Ballinagare lost the Ballin- 
tober estates, which for upwards of one thousand years 
were in the possession of that illustrious and esteemed 
iamily, who, in all the privations and revolutions that 
oppressed them, never changed the religion of their 
forefathers for the novelty and whimsical fanaticism of 
the times. 

Willsgrove, at one time part of the O'Conor manors, 
is within a mile of Ballintober. The late Thomas Wills, 
Esq. who inherited these estates, married Miss Talbot, 
of Mount-Talbot, by whom he had one son, William 
Robert Wills, who married the sister of St. George 
French, of Tyrone House in the County of Galway, but 
by whom he had no issue ; she died a few years back 
justly lamented, as her munificence, urbanity, and the 


suavity t)f her maiinersi endeared her to all classes. Af'tct* 
her demise Mr. Wills married Miss Sandford, of Castle- 
rea, the eldest dauglitcr of the Rev. William Samlford 
by Miss Oliver, of Castle Oliver in the County of Lime- 
rick, sister to Mrs. Pakenham of Ardbracken Glebe in 
Meath, and to the unfortunate Baron Mount-Sandford,, 
who was accidentally killed in a pugilistic affair at Wind- 
sor, in the autumn of 1828. Willsgrove is delightfully 
situated in the vicinity of Castlerea 3 the house is spa- 
cious, and commands one of the most enchanting views 
of a country formed by nature as a spot on which Hea- 
ven smiles. 

Southpark, a magnificent seat, built by the late Gene- 
ral Gisburn, on the Malone estate, is about two miles 
from WilLsgrove. The manor is at present in the pos- 
session of a grazier of the name of Balfe. 

Castlerea, anciently the noble residence of Roderick 
O'Conor Don, who married the Lady Anne Birming- 
Jiam of Athenry, and who was gibbeted at his own door, 
in the days of the Usurper, exceeded in his unrelent- 
ing and merciless atrocities that inhuman usurper 
Don Miguel. From that period, I believe, Castlerea has 
been in the possession of the Sandford family. Of their 
origin I know nothing ; perhaps they are allied to the 
entertaining subject of Sandford and Merton J but from 
the high connexions they formed in this country since 
fortune and the revolutions of the times favoured them, 
I must confess they are most respectably alljed, viz. — 
with the O'Briens of Incliiquin, the Moores of Kilworth, 
and the Ncwenhams of Glcnmore, in the County of 
Cork, the Olivers of Castle-Oliver, in the County of 
Limerick, the Pakenhams of Pakenham-Hall, in West- 
meath, and the Wills of Willsgrove, in the County of 
Roscommon. There was a daughter of this house (Cas- 
tlerea) married a Captain Bourne of Holies-street, Dub- 
lin, and another was unfortunately burned in her bed- 


chamber, in Castlerea-House, by her clothes takmgfire. 
Captain Sandford (a most amiable and charitable old 
gentleman), on the awfnl and premature death of his 
lamented nephew, succeeded to the title of Lord Mount- 
Sandford. Castlerea is a very ancient market and post 
town, situated in a salubrious verdant glen, on the 
immediate banks of two great rivers, which, to add 
to the enchanting and diversified scenes of this beauti- 
ful valley, form themselves into one. The influx is sub-* 
Hme, where the copious Cloonard or Loughglen rivei' 
emits its rapid and foaming disgorge into the noble 
Suck, and moves in all its magnitude towards its final 
reservoir, the haughty and beautiful Shannon. The 
church recently built in Castlerea deserves particular 
notice, as it reflects no small degree of credit on our 
present beautiful mode of architecture. The Rector is a 
Mr. Blundell, who was Curate of St. Mary's, in the City 
of Dublin, during the viceroyship of the Duke of Rich- 
mond : I mean the lamented Peer, who (according to 
Sir Charles Saxton) died, quite soberly, in Upper Ca- 
nada, from the poisonous bite of a rabid fox. Doctor 
Blundell, who had a large family, was sadly in need of 
- this fat benefice at the time ; and I am bound to say, 
that this great living, worth only the miserable stipend 
of something better than £2000 per annum, is rather 
a sinecure ; but it suits the good old man, who is some- 
times troubled by the gout in his big toe : yet, strange 
to say, this good Minister oflEiciates for a wide and po- 
pulous district — and the following levies pay the man of 
prayer: tithes, Amen-money, and a long catalogue of 
Vestry taxes, in the parishes of Baslick, Kilmurry, Tub- 
berelve, Ballintober, Drimma Tample, Ballymoe, Kil- 
keevin, Tarmon, and the ancient Abbey lands of Moore- 
abbey. Not one of the religious houses which were 
ransacked and partly demolished in former days, but are 
now solely represented and under the pious care and 

special jurisdiction of one Rector ; and the tithes of this 
wide district divided (as I would suppose with equity) 
between this Rector for the time being and the Earls of 
Essex. How the Kepple family, whose worldly desires 
and silly amusements prevent them from complying 
with the sacred calling, became possessed of those re- 
venues (at one time the allodial of better purposes), I 
am at a loss to know ; but this I know, that this whole 
district is annually most exorbitantly taxed, and the 
fruits of the tithe proctor and the exactions of the mer- 
ciless cess gatherer, divided between one Reverend Doc- 
tor and the pious (for pious they must be, when they 
live on the spoils of the Church,) heirs of Kepple. A 
small corner of this temple contains the one or two fa- 
milies and the few Peelers for the care of whose souls 
the sum of £6000 is annually wrenched from the most 
wretched peasantry I ever beheld, as the rich graziers 
(not like other countries) seldom or ever pay any. — 
Castlerea House stands within a few paces of the old 
ruin of Roderick O'Conor, which was recently demo- 
lished by Henry Moore Sandford, Esq.; the beautiful 
spring which supplied the former inheritors, with its 
usual profuseness bursts into the farm-yard of the house 
of Mount-Sandford. The Sandfords, I regret to say, are 
almost extinct — the cly male of that great Cromwellian 
family now in existence being Captain Sandford, at one 
time barrack-master in Dublin j he enjoys that Union 
title which moulders into the same grave with his own 
ashes, and closes for ever (along with the peer, who is 
now seventy-six,) the name of Sandford, of the beautiful 
Castlerea, on the banks of the Suck, in the County of 
Roscommon. The inhabitants of Castlerea are much in- 
debted to the memory of an old eccentric Hugonot, of 
the name of Mackvey, who emigrated from the south of 
France into our lovely Emerald Isle — for the group of 
preachers that issued from the thatched hovel in which 


this parsimonious Monsieur kept his academy, and in 
which he lived himself, without any other society or 
domestic (in the absence of his noisy and half naked 
pupils) but two cats, Darby and Joan, as Mr. Mackvey 
was pleased to call them ; and so rigid was the good 
tutor in expecting the company of both these animals at 
breakfast and dinner, that if they absented themselves 
beyond the usual hours, which was eight in the morn- 
ing and four in the evening, they would be obliged to 
fast until the same hour next day, unless they could pur- 
loin a morsel out of old Peggy Tanner's broken cup- 
board — a purblind old maid, who lived next door to 
him. Dean Gannon, commonly called fat or plump-faced 
Tommy, now of Queen Elizabeth's College, made the 
best hand of himself of all Mackvey's pupils that is in 
this world, and I wish the worthy Dean every happiness 
in the next. Mr. Gannon is the son of a respectable 
mechanic, who intended his son for the Catholic priest- 
hood, and to which, I make no doubt, he would have 
been an ornament. He was some time tutor to the 
sons of an opulent grazier of the name of Balfe (a Ca- 
tholic family) ; however, Mr. Gannon's talents were too 
aspiring to be stifled in the small school-room of a farm- 
house. He quitted the County of Roscommon, and en- 
tered Trinity College, where he soon distinguished him- 
self as a scholar, and got to be tutor to Provost Elring- 
ton's sons, in whose time Dean Gannon obtained a fel- 
lowship. Much to the praise of Thomas Gannon, he 
has done a great deal for his poor family, and chiefly 
educated two of his brothers, 

Thomas Coffey, the son of a wheel-wright Fahyj the 
eon of a smith, and one Ryan, all of the town of Cas- 
tlerea, became apostates, from the great success of 
Gannon, and are now preachers of the Gospel, and 
placed on the civil list as hieritorious Divines j they be^ 
came neophytes out of pure love for Protestantism, and 


not for the sake (as many unjustly eurmlsed) of the 
loaves and fishes. There are many handsome villas and 
rural seats in and about the town of Castlerea ; amongst 
which is the residence of Mr. Owen Young, called Har- 
ristown; also those of Messrs. Barton, Magrath, and 
Lloyd, and the widow Young. Castlerea is situated in 
one of the richest vales in this great county; it has 
localities for commerce and manufactures seldom to be 
met with in more opulent countries. Castlerea borders 
on the Counties of Mayo and Galway, and is only eighty- 
four miles from the metropolis. 

Six miles from Castlerea is Loughglynn-House, the 
noble seat of the Lords Dillon of Costello, Gallen, in 
the County of Mayo. The late Viscount Dillon married 
the Honourable Miss Phibbs, the sister of the late Lord 
Mulgrave, of Scarborough Castle, in Yorkshire. His 
eldest son, the present Viscount, married Miss Browne 
of Castle-Mountgarretty in the County of Mayo, by 
whom he had a son, who was drowned at Florence a 
few months back. His Lordship's daughter married Sir 
Thomas W^ebb of Welford, in Northamptonshire. His 
other children (I believe) were illegitimate by a French 
lady, •whom his Lordship married sometime previous to 
his demise in 1813. Loughglynn-House is delightfully 
situated on an eminence, and on the immediate banks 
of the handsomest lake in this county ; the demesne is 
overspread with interspersed groves, beautiful laAvns, 
and highly picturesque and romantic scenery. The vil- 
lage of Loughglynn is much improved, and although on 
the verge of a deep and unreclaimable moor, embraces 
a pleasant view of this highly cultivated and magnificent 
wilderness, which a short distance from Loughglynn- 
House appears quite a verdant and mature forest. 

A few miles from Loughglynn is Errod Lodge, the 
residence of Mrs. Arthur French, adorned by a beau- 
tiful lake, in which the unfortunate William French, 


of Eiidfield, who married Miss Fetheretoii of Brack- 
Ion, near Mullingar, drowned himself a few years back. 
He and Miss Fctlierston did not live happy, which 
was the principal cause assigned for this rash act.— < 
It was thought that when poor Mrs, French was trans- 
ported there a few years back, slie might be tempted to 
try the fatal experiment of the " Lover's Leap," but the 
good lady was too wise, and is now living as gay as most 
folk who take a trip to the Continent, The old build- 
ing called Cronnin Castle, in this neighbourhood, 
deserves to be taken notice of. It was anciently the 
residence of the noble house of Costello, a family who 
suffered great persecution in the reign of Queen Eliza- 
beth, and also in the idolized years of grace, 1688 
and 1689. Theophilus Costello of Cronnin Castle was 
barbarously murdered by Dillon's body-guard, or free- 
booters, in passing a small ford between this old ruin 
and Castlemore Abbey, another monastery demolished 
and ransacked by the Dillons and their adherents. The 
ford to this day bears the name of **' Toby's Ford." — 
This old Castle is situated in a low valley, and although 
surrounded with rutty hills, barren mountains, and 
stagnated swamps, all in the possession of the house of 
Dillon, the ruin in itself is majestic, and reflects no 
small credit on antique architecture. The noble and 
rapid river named after this magnificent structure, and 
which waters its foundation, is one of the most copious 
(excepting the Moy) in this county. It takes its source 
from the steep mountains of Taurane and Urler Abbey, 
some miles distant in the rude and romantic parts of 
Mayo, and solely, in continuation, the patrimony of 
Henry Viscount Dillon, whose ancestor laid waste the 
chief of Mayo and Roscommon, in the reign of the 
Virgin Queen. This great river waters upwards of one 
hundred miles of the Counties of Mayo, Roscommon and 
Leitrira, previous to disgorging itself into the Shannon, 


anUatlorns in its unoontroiilable career the ancient seafe 
of the Dillons of Lision Castle, Lung and Edmonds- 
town, all that remains of the wide domains of the heirs 
of Costello. The late Charles Costello of Tallahan, in 
the Barony of Costello, was the son of the celebrated 
Counsellor Costello, by the Honourable Miss Birming- 
ham of Athenry Castle, in the County of Galway; his 
son, the present inheritor, married Miss Creagh of the 
County of Clare, by whom he had no issue ; since her 
demise, he married Miss Daniel of Mountjoy-squarc, 
by whom he has two children. The only sister of 
Charles Costello of Edmondstown, Esq., was the late 
and justly-esteemed Mrs. French of Frenchpark, in this 
neighbourhood. The late Mr. Costello, unfortunately 
for some of his creditors, was tenant for life ; he was 
killed by a fall from his horse, a few years back, a short 
distance from his own residence. Edward Costello, the 
Barrister, was the first apostate in this family. He could 
not be admitted in his days to the bar, in consequence 
of the Penal Laws that expired in their own mire a few 
days back, having been originally intended to expel 
Catholics from exercising the authority of a petty con- 
stable ; consequently, nimble Ned, who built that rural 
cottage, which he called after himself, " Ned's-own- 
town," and who, for wit and sound equity, was the 
O'Connell of his province, improved this handsome de- 
mesne, which is undoubtedly most eligibly situated on 
an eminence, and commands a delightful view of that 
charming country; it is called the verdant vale of 
O'Gara, and the principality of Coolavin. 

A short distance from this cottage of the house of 
Costello is the noble river that adorns the ruin of Cron- 
nin Castle, and in its perambulation smiles in all its 
beauty on Edmondstown. To ennoble this sublime and 
diversified scenery, the enchanting Lake O'Gara ap- 
proaches this fairy land, which comprises within its 


boundaries about twenty thousand Irish acres, and dis- 
plays its radiant rays on one of the most enchanting 
districts in Europe, comprising rural villas, solvent 
hamlets and an industrious and peaceable peasantry — a 
soil luxuriant, yielding its fruits in due season, and the 
rays of a salubrious atmosphere and a serene climate 
accelerates the toils of the serf, and repays his assiduous 
labour with a more abundant crop than any district I 
know of in this empire. The diversified groves, islands, 
and steep cliffs on this charming lake are not to be 
equalled in any part of his Majesty's dominions. The 
lake moves in its majestic windings towards the town 
and abbey of Boyle, which it takes in its course about 
sixteen miles, separating the noble demesnes of the 
ancient houses of Coolavin and O'Gara. The lofty and 
magnificent Keach-Curran looks on those manifold and 
diffused blessings that heaven has so prodigally and 
exuberantly lavished on the banks of Lake O'Gara and 
the vicinity of Boyle. 

Of the noble seat of the Princes of Coolavin, which 
is situated on the banks of this admired lake, I can say 
nothing, as I have not been fortunate enough in my 
juvenile days to see it; but in taking a general view 
from the lowly thatched cottage of Edmondstown, it 
appeared within view, and deserves the talents of a 
Byron, a Scott, or a Moore to describe its admirable and 
diversified beauties. With respect to the noble heirs of 
the great MacDermott, from time immemorial Princes 
of Coolavin, commonly called the Great MacDermotts 
of the Rock, (now called Rockingham, and the seat of 
Lord Lorton,) to panegyrise this illustrious, though, 
from the rapine of former times, poor family, would be 
rather purloining from their great and puissant lineage, 
than adding to the pedigree that every person acquainted 
with the history of this kingdom must confess is justly 
due to their valiant ancestors, they being so often con- 


necteU with the houses of the O'Conofs, the O'Haras of 
Nymphsfield, and the O'Rourkes of BrefFny j also with 
the O'Garas of Dongara, noiv called Frenchpark, that 
it would be only obtruding on the enlightened reader's 
patience to give the pedigree of their ancestors and con- 
nexions. The present inheritor of the elite of his ances- 
tors' domains that the revolution left that family, is 
maternal nephew to the O'Conor Don, and Avas recently 
married to the beautiful and accomplished heiress of 
O'Rourke, by Miss French of Bella, a junior branch of 
the ancient house of Cloonequin and Foxborough, who 
are descended from the same ancestors as the Frenches 
of Castle-French, in the County of Galway, and also 
allied to the noble house of Frenchpark, for many years 
knights of the shire for this county. Young MacDer- 
mott being nephew to the O'Conor Don, brings him 
connected with the O'Donnells of Ballyshanny — the 
Lyons of Lyonstown — the O'Sheils of Donegal — the 
Mapothers of Kiltevan-House — the Lynches of Low- 
berry — the Creans of Creanfield, in the County of Mayo — 
the Blakes of Tower-hill — the Brownes of Elphin — the 
O'Conors of Ballinagare, Mount-Druid, and many others. 
The chief families I have described are his cousins ; be- 
sides, the connexions of his wife are as numerous. 

Boyle, the noble seat of the King family, is within a 
few miles of Coolavin. The town, which was formerly 
the manor of the great Abbey of Boyle, is built on the 
beautiful river from which it takes its name. The River 
Boyle is copious, and profusely supplied from the great 
Lake O'Gara ; it empties itself into the Shannon in the 
vicinity of the Leitrim iron works. The chief of the 
Kingston estates were wrenched from the great Mac- 
Dermott of the Rock, commonly called the Prince of 
Coolavin. Sir Robert King married the daughter of 
Thomas Caulfield, Esq. of Donamon, by a Mrs. Jordan. 
The eldest son, by Miss Caulfield, was the late Earl of 


Kingston, who married the rich heiress of Mitchelsto\ni 
in the County of Cork, whose annual rent-roll ^vas thirty 
thousand pounds ; and yet, strange to say, she hardly 
allowed her son, who had a large family, common main- 
tenance. The infatuation of this lady was so great in 
collecting money for Methodist Preachers and sending 
out Missionaries to convert the Hindoos, that she cur- 
tailed her establishment for no other purpose but to sup- 
ply these sanctified Evangelists the moment any of them 
obtained a license to go preaching. This old w^oman, 
w^th her other extravagancies, could pay IMadame Cata- 
lani four hundred pounds for singing Rule Britannia to 
a set of fashionables at her great mansion in Portman^ 
square, London, and five hundred pounds for a small 
furnished house, during the summer months, in one of 
the glens under Richmond Hill, while her own noble 
mansion at Mitclielstown was wholly deserted, with the 
exception of one old woman, who was retained for the 
purpose of beating down the cobwebs and keeping the 
crickets from taking possession of her Ladyship's foreign 
drapery. It was after a long litigation, which I be- 
lieve terminated only a few months previous to her La- 
dyship's death, that her son, the present Earl, was al- 
lowed ten out of the thirty thousand per annum of the 
great estate of the house of Fitzgerald. With respect 
to the unfortunate circumstance in which Lady Kings- 
ton's kinsman, Colonel Fitzgerald, lost his life, which is 
still in the recollection of many of my readers, undoubt- 
edly Fitzgerald was to blame, he being a man of years 
and a man of family, having several children by his own 
wife at the time : it was a base action to become a se- 
ducer and to bring disgrace on the noble house of Mitch- 
elstown. I do not wish to be explicit on this delicate 
subject ; suffice only to add, that Lord Kingston shot 
the imfortunate man dead at the hotel in MitchelstOAvn, 
of which he was acquitted by the Irish House of Lords, 
in the year 1794. 


The Earl of Kingston married an English lady, wtia 
was the mother of the present Lord Kingsborough and 
other children. The venerable Earl's second wife is 
Miss Moore of Kilworth, a connexion, though illus- 
trious, to which Lady Kingston had the greatest aver- 
sion, in consequence of the unhappy marriage of her 
eldest daughter with the Earl of Mount-Cashel ; and, 
though there might be faults on both sides, I must say, 
that a more amiable wife never graced the escutcheons 
of the noble house of Kingston than the present Countess. 
Lord Erris, now Viscount Lorton, married his own cou- 
sin, the rich heiress of Lord Oxmantov/n, in the County 
of Longford, by whom he had the present Member for 
Roscommon, Mrs. Lefroy of Stephen's-green, and the 
late and lamented Lady Booth Gore of Sligo. The 
junior branches of Lord Lorton's family are as yet un- 
married. On the death of his uncle. Viscount Lorton 
became possessed of considerable funded property, but 
the estates in Mayo went to Mr. Knox Gore, who was 
heir at law in right of his mother, Miss Gore. The late 
Colonel King, who married the eldest daughter of Sir 
Annesley Gore, Bart, of Ballina, had no children by his 
lady, consequently the hereditaiy estates and the salmon 
fisheries of that great town are in the possession of Mr. 
Knox, who calls himself Knox Gore in right of his mo- 
ther, or I believe the grandmother, of the present inhe- 
ritor. The late Sir Annesley Gore was rather advanced 
in years when the sly Baronet seduced little Katty 
Rohan, by whom he had four lovely daughters. Katty's 
mother was many years hen- wife to the Baronet, and a 
most faithful woman in her situation. When the ladies 
grew up Sir Annesley married this amiable woman ; but 
whatever his reason was, like the Marquess of Welles- 
ley with his mistress, the mother of Lady Abdy Ben- 
tinck, he never cohabited with Miss Rohan afterwards. 
There could not be more amiable women than three of 
Sir Annesley'g daughters j the fourth was a lunatic. 


I have not seen Viscount Lorton's grand mansion, re- 
cently built on the banks of the beautiful Lough Key ; 
but from what I understand, it is superior to any edifice 
in that province. 

The town of Boyle has many local advantages, being 
in the neighbourhood of the best turbary and coal mines 
in this kingdom, and the verdant plains with which it is 
surrounded, make it one of the most beautiful places in 
the known world. The old residence of the King fa- 
mily is extant, and many years converted into a barrack. 
The Church on the hill, which overlooks this town and 
its environs, is rather a heavy building, without any at- 
traction. The small Methodist Meeting-house under, 
and rather in opposition to this lofty sanctuary, is orna- 
mented on the front as you go in to see a talentless per- 
vert of the name of Brannan from the wilds, not of Ara- 
bia but Mayo, preaching to the brethren and the chaste 
sisterhood, as there is not so much as one frail rib or 
scabby sheep amongst them. But why am I straying 
from the main point. I say the walls of this Chapel of 
Ease — for it eases both soul and body — is decorated with 
two ferocious black lyons. These and a few Peelers se- 
lected from Lord Farnham or the Dunlow Fencibles, 
is the only garrison retained to protect the effigy of his 
Majesty William the Third and the sanctimonium of his 
fraternity, wliich is chiefly comprised of a few old 
jtnaids, who found an easier method of going to the land 
of promise than holding fast the tradition of the elders 
in every age, since the Cromwellian and Williamite 
factions took a paramount sway in this country. — 
There were very few towns in Ireland, Bandon, Mount- 
mellick, or sweet Ballyconnell excepted, displayed more 
loyalty than Boyle. The gallant heirs of the Baronets of 
the house of King were so attached (not to the effigy of 
Daniel O'Connell of Darrinane Abbey, as the esteemed 
patriot was not perhaps born at the time,) to the revered 


model of the Prince of Orange, whom they, their ad- 
herents and vassals, that is, such as were paid for their 
faith and loyalty, loved with such vehemence, that his 
sacred Majesty was placed (at no small expence) on the 
battlement of the great bridge, built at the expense of 
the poor Popish inhabitants of the Barony of Boyle ; I 
am bound to say, however, that the melter and moulder 
of his Majesty have done the lovely model every justice ; 
he stands erect on this mighty pillar, though I can not 
say it is the ground of truth, as the sand frequently 
move, according to the flow and ebb of this noble river; 
and very judiciously the architect placed the Dutch 
General's naked back to the western wind, as the 
reader must know that the Prince is dressed in his 
Glencoe uniform ; and as some ladies of no small cele- 
brity in this town justly observed his Highness's High- 
land petticoat, and the other appendages and trap- 
pings worn by the natives of that rural country, are ra- 
ther short, and that, instead of coming to the thick of the 
thigh, if the kilt hung lower it would hide that obvious 
defect or kam in the knee. Not being a competent 
judge myself of those habiliments, I did not argue the 
case with the ladies, as coming in contact with the other 
sex often brings intimate friends as well as strangers 
to the point of the bayonet j therefore, for the sake of 
adjusting matters more amicably, I give it as an injunc- 
tion to those fiery and hot-headed young gentlemen, not 
to attempt trifling with females about matters of little 
importance to either of the parties — a random shot or a 
sly insult is more commendable to be borne with, than 
acrimony or contumely, that would cause a blush or 
a frown in the fascinating feces of our lovely females. 
I came to King William's knees, and have communi- 
cated my admonition to the young men. Undoubtedly, 
his Highness's buskins is rather short, and the soles 
seem better adapted for a County Meath drover than a 


Dutch Prince ; his upper garments scarcely cover his 
sleuder and hidy-lilvc abdomen ; his nose seems to re- 
cline towards the Netherlands, encumbered with a pro- 
dig-ious hump, M'hich his Majesty cocks with a distorted 
and austere grimace, as if disgusted at the sanguinary 
rapine of some piccaroons, while plundering the neigh - 
bouring peasantry, and committing the most barbarous 
jnassacre on the inmates of the beautiful abbey just 
in view. This scene, if described by Cruikshank, 
M ould go off well, and undoubtedly be no small acqui- 
sition to the Diorama in Brunswick-street. However, 
to return to the neat little town of Boyle, which for 
many years Avas a borough town in the gift of the King 
family — another East Retford, sold to the highest bidder. 
The immortal Sir Edward Denny, Bart, of the ancient 
toAvn of Tralee, never was returaed in greater triumph 
than the nominee of the heirs of Kingston for this old 
rotten borough, which departed this life, to the no small 
loss of some needy hard swearers, in that year of grace 
and many titles, the never-to-be-forgotten 1800. On the 
return of any popular candidate, as well as on the festi- 
val days of Orangeism, the town and neighbourhood were 
convulsed, in parading through the one street and some 
fulsome lanes, displaying Orange lilies and playing party 
tunes ; and these loyalists dressed in all the colours of 
a gloomy rainbow — the van was generally led by the 
Make-'ems, Rake-'ems, or the Take-'ems, that is, when 
the Frys, Fawcetts^ and the Phibbs got too genteel to join 
such ragamuffins. On these occasions the most revolt- 
ing crimes and excesses were committed under the 
cloak of loyalty ; various murders, such as have occurred 
amongst the terrific brigands in the north of this king- 
dom in our own times ; rapes, to gratify the diabolical 
passions of a drunken, ferocious, immoral, and sangui- 
nary yeomanry, were daringly committed, and the per- 
petrators stalked abroad with impunity. If any of the 


foolisli and ignorant rustics, who gaped about at the glar- 
ing mantles and girdles worn at these pharisaical dis- 
plays of Orange loyalty, chanced to utter a sentence, or 
even to smile at the ludicrous and absurd scenes which 
took place, to the great annoyance of a peaceable and 
well-disposed people, they were knocked down, shot 
dead, or sent to a horrible bridewell, (another Calcutta 
Black Hole, called the Boyle gaol) as suspicious Papists, 
where they remained until such time as their himiane 
Worships, the sages of Just-ass, thought proper to 
send them, by quick marches, to the County gaol. — 
However, we have to thank God that the times in 
Ireland are very much changed for the better; and 
that the government of this kingdom, the patronage of 
the rich livings of the Church, and the auction of rotten 
boroughs, which were generally sold to the highest 
bidder, as a provision for the junior branches of these 
worthless monopolists and corporate jobbers, are no 
longer in existence, or at least will soon cease to exist, 
when God rids the oppressed people of such of those ra- 
pacious and ruthless sinecurists as are at present in pos- 
session. Verily, verily, I say unto you, those selfish and 
useless monopolists, who have laid burdens on the people 
that they themselves would not touch with their little 
finger, will meet their reward ; and after a few years 
pass away, the Beresfords, the Trenches, the Tottenhams, 
and the illustrious family of the Magees will vanish, and 
not one of their pious progeny will ever again be seated 
in the chairs of the Scribes and Pharisees ; undoubtedly 
the Kingston family are no burden on the country. — 
Look to the Beresfords and the Trenches, and see how 
many thousand pounds are paid annually into their ex- 
chequer from the revenues of this distressed country, 
where thousands are actually starving, and many an or- 
phan and widow whose parent and son laid down their 
lives in defence of their King and their country, would 


feel grateful at this moment for a cup of cold water or a 
scanty crumb from these rich men's table. Look to all 
the money paid annually to the Beresfords. One of them^ 
the Archbishop of Armagh, between the revenues of his 
rich see and the renewal of leases, (though the old gen- 
tleman has no charge on earth but his own four bones) 
is considered to be worth on an average eighty thousand 
pounds a-year. Then there is my Lord Tom, and my 
Lord George, who obtained ten thousand pounds as 
damages, from poor Lord Bective of Headford, in the 
County of Meath, a few years ago. Another poor soul, 
the brother of Claudius Bishop of Kilmore, whose son 
Mark has two rich unions in that diocese, and another 
fat Rector has two unions, well known as Father Cobb 
Beresford — these, and their connexion, the sister of Sir 
George Hill, who is married to a half pay ensign, who 
came here in the Cambridge militia, poor and pennyless, 
got into the Church on his marriage with this eccentric 
old maid, the beautiful Miss Hill. This pious parson's 
name is Thackery, better known about Derry as the 
Long Captain, and he enjoys the rich union of Dundalk, 
a seat thrown into the possession of the Hamilton fa- 
mily (I think in 1688), who afterwards got the title of 
the Lords of Clanbrassil. 

However, the v/hole group departed this life, and 
the mighty title fell into the same grave with the Ha- 
milton family. The celebrated house of Jocelyn are 
maternally allied to those Hamiltons, in right of which 
they got possession of the Dundalk estates, the customs, 
and that notorious borough, which is generally sold to 
the highest bidder. An apostate butter-man, from the 
neighbourhood of Cork, was returned by a nod a few 
years back; but whether from the price being too high,, 
or getting tired of the warm debates in the House of 
Commons, or accepting the chairmanship of the Bruns- 
wick Club,^ where he distinguished himself by writing love 

letfcrs for The JSrunswick Star, I cannot say ; but thi;* 
I liave to add, as I am done with the lirkin nierchant of 
Sydney-hill, that poor Father Thackcry has i^ot, in addi- 
tion to the fat living of Diindalk and its union, the rich 
benefice of Louth, worth about three thousand pounds 
per annum; besides this, he and his fine lady superin- 
tend the charter schools of Dundalk, Louth, and some 
others. But need we be surprised at the signs and 
wonders of the times 1 It is not for nothing the cat 
Winks. Is not the Baronet, the highest of the Hilts, mar- 
ried to my Lord John's own sister ? This is the way 
the church property is disposed of in Ireland. How 
many needy Curates, with a house full of young cliil- 
dren, were in the greatest want, while this opulent 
half-pay officer was converted, for the sake fl should 
suppose) of his beautiful oratory — for who could ever 
hear him but with admiration ! Another fat benefice 
was heaped upon a barren old couple, who keep no 
establishment, nor do they divide with the poor or the 
needy. As to the house of Garbally, there is hardly a 
soul of that good family but enjoys some small item at 
the expense of the public. The Earl of Clancarty having 
been on an embassy in the Netherlands for two or three 
years, it could not be expected he would retire without 
some token of friendship. By the way of a pension, his 
brother, the revered Bishop of the West, got the j^oor 
Archbishopric of Tuam, in the Flanders of Connaught, to 
support two sons and a group of lovely daughters — the 
Archdeacon of Ardagh, who is I believe as yet on the 
staff, at one time commanded at Cork, and was a Lieu- 
tenant in the Galway Militia — Captain Trench of the 
Custom-house, commonly called the house of Trench, as 
it is a kind of a town residence for the whole family ; 
besides poor Lady Anne and her husband, in comfort- 
able circumstances for many years in the Castle-yard, 
and at a cosey cottage in the Phoenix Park. Another of 


this family, who was on half-pay, is dead. I saw his 
long- epitaph in the old church at Cheltenham : it praised 
him mightily. This gentleman, I have no doubt, was a 
worthy man. I do not give this account from any dis- 
respect to the Beresfords or the Trenches, but merely 
to show the world how this great faction worked to get 
places and pensions for themselves and their relatives. 
Their career is now nearly at an end — the whole of 
them are going down the hill — their great monopoly 
and influence are almost dead on one side ; by and-bye 
they will not have power to obtain a sinecure for a parish 
beadle or a petty constable. The Trenches, the Castle- 
maines, and the house of Curraghmore are almost ex- 
tinct ill bigotry and politics ; and that gloom of sordid 
and self aggrandizement, which was epidemic in this 
country for nearly two centuries, has been blown off 
and shipwrecked on the Wellington cliffs and the pure 
rocks in the House of Commons, to which our beloved 
Monarch has, with his usual munificence, given his 
sanction. As to the illustrious families of Kingston and 
Lorton, they are in mildness far different to many of 
their ancestors ; they suppressed (some years back) the 
riotous exhibitions and Orange baubles of those igno- 
rant and infuriated persons, which protracted trade, 
caused sanguinary crimes, and vehement and malignant 
animosities. Lord Lorton, though a staunch biblical, 
has totally abolished those lawless and drunken assem- 
blies, and the consequence is that the town of Boyle, 
which was for many years a nest of riot, massacre, and 
ludicrous party exhibitions — indeed the very focus of 
Orangeism — is in our own times the most peaceable and 
united town within the boundaries of this great and 
opulent county. 

Oak-Park, the seat of William Molloy, Esq., on the 
River Boyle, who married Miss French of Frenchpark, 
and Castle-Tennison, the residence of Thomas Tennison, 


Esq., and several other beautiful villas, are in the imme- 
diate neighbourhood of the seat of Kingston. The 
grand view from Rockingham-House commands a sub- 
lime prospect of the beautiful Lough-Key and the lofty 
Keach-Curran, which raises its magnificent summit to- 
wards the sky, and smiles with exultation at the en- 
chanting and picturesque scenery that nature formed in 
and about the fertile plains of Boyle. It is about eighty- 
eight miles from Dublin, bordering on the Counties of 
Leitrim and Sligo, but principally situated on the bankp 
of Lake O'Gara, in the County of Roscommon. All 
that remains of that noble monument of antiquity, called 
the Abbey of Boyle, convinces the enraptured beholder 
of its once great splendour and magnificence j the walls 
and windows are covered with ivy, evergreens, and the 
most fragrant whitethorn bushes. The ruin is on the 
immediate banks of this beautiful river, which is one of 
the clearest streams that this or any other country can 
boast of. 

Though I was determined not to say a word of the 
County of Sligo till my Second or Third " Reminiscence" 
appeared, which will be as soon as circumstances will 
admit, yet, as poor Owcnson was born in this neigh- 
bourhood, it would be ungrateful of me not to say a few 
words of this eminent favourite of his countrymen. Mr. 
Owenson was born in a rustic village near Colooney, 
within a few miles of the town of Boyle. This village,, 
though situated in the great mountains of O'Hara, is by 
no means void of those lovely and picturesque scenes 
with which this county abounds. Nymphsfield, the 
ancient residence of the O'Hara family — Temple-house, 
the seat of Colonel Percival — and Markara Castle, the 
splendid seat of a lunatic of the name of Cooper, arc 
magnificent domains. The beautiful Bay of Sligo,, 
adorned with the rarities of foreign countries — the lofty 
and justly-admired peak, well known as Knocknareagh, 


raising its verdant summit far above the othci* inferior 
hillocks which have been often spoken of in other 
countries, and which, in the language of the immortal 
Goldsmith, in his lovely description of the " Deserted 
Village," silences the assumed paramount importance of 
those adjacent hills and declivities, by saying, " Have I 
not the sea and its treasures, invaluable stratums, and 
a land flowing with milk and honey as my footstool ? — 
Does not the wealth of nations, with expanded sail, in 
all its pride, do me homage ? — the ancient town and 
abbey of Sligo, Hazlewood, and Tantrigo aiding to the 
beauties that surround me — the white cliffs and the 
salmon fisheries of the rugged coast of Tyreaghragh, 
bounteously supplying my native people with the neces- 
saries of life. Is not the verdant lawns and the accele- 
rating declivities nature has formed on my verge lulled 
to happiness by the singing of birds ? And am I not 
arrayed and beautified with the lilies of the valley ? Is 
not my summit crowned by the daring eagle ? And who 
could oppose him in devouring his prey on my stupen- 
dous mitre ? A man born in a country for M'hich God 
has done much and man nothing — surrounded with all 
the admirable beauties and rural attractions that nature 
could form, and that where the poverty of the people 
cannot be more glaringly described than to view the 
surplus of unfortunate and ragged serfs that annually 
and disgracefully crowd the quays of the Irish metro- 
polis, and the towns and suburbs of Liverpool and 

Mr. Owenson was a native of this wild and romantic 
district, and was born in that state of indigence familiar 
to an Irish peasant, and in which I was nurtured my- 
self — though I am vain enough to think, if I was pro- 
perly educated in my early days, I might, from my 
perseverance and assiduity, be an ornament to soci- 
ety in my more mature age. But, to return to the re- 


spected Owenson, to whose memory the commtinity is 
so much indebted for the superior education (in his 
humble circumstances) he bestowed on both of his amia- 
ble and patriotic daughters, and particularly the accom- 
plished and high-minded Lady Morgan of Kildare-street, 
(the wife of that eminent and esteemed physician, Sir 
Charles Morgan,) who, from her literary talents, is an 
ornament to her country. In his boyhood, Owenson 
began to show symptoms of that genius which he dis- 
played afterwards in his rude characters on the boards 
of Crow-street Theatre. From the indigence of his 
parents, it could not be expected that he could receive a 
liberal education ; and at this time there was no biblical 
or old maiden Sunday schools in this country ; yet to go 
to Munster, as many others did, who came home priests 
or surveyors, such a thought never entered his mind — 
notwithstanding which he was a perfect master of the 
English language. As to the mother tongue, the Irish, 
as it is vulgarly called, few could excel him — the Irish 
being spoken more correctly in the County of Sligo than 
in any other part of this kingdom. In his youthful days 
Mr. Owenson was taken as a domestic into the house of 
a Mr. Irwin, the father (I believe) of Commodore IrAvin, 
near Sligo, who were the first to bring him to Dublin, 
in which service he lived some years. He left that 
family to better himself, (who could blame him ?) and 
went as own-man to the late Lord Shannon. How long 
he retained this situation I cannot say, but I believe it 
was his last service, as he got an engagement at Crow- 
street Theatre, attached to Avhich establishment he died ; 
he was a great favourite with the public. His eldest 
daughter. Miss Owenson, was governess to Miss Fether- 
ston of Bracklon, in the County of Westmeath, when she 
wrote The Wild Irish Girl, which is considered her best 
production ; and the reason is obvious, because of the 
excellent and native ideas of her lamented parent, who 


c>ften gave her bis brilliant aid, previous to his demise, 
while writing^ this rare and much sough t-for work. How- 
ever, let not the reader imagine that I am going to visit 
the memory of Mr. Cwenson with vituperation or con- 
tempt for being the legitimate heir of indigence, or for 
earning his bread as an humble domestic. Far from it. 
Are we not, from the highest to the lowest, obliged to 
earn our bread, either in one capacity or another ? The 
King, thougli the ruler of all, (God bless George the 
Fourth aiid the rest of the Royal Family,) is he not the 
servant x)f all ? Did not the immortal Sir Thomas More 
wait at the Bishop of London's table ? Is not the cham- 
pion of the Constitution of 1688, (which departed this life 
in April, 1829,) the son of an humble domestic from 
Newcastle-upon-Tyne? Did not the late Lord Arran 
marry one of his own servant maids ? Did not the late 
Colonel Pratt tie himself into the same connubial bliss ? 
Has not the Earl of Mount-Cashel married a Swiss bar- 
maid ? In short, if servants, or the children of servants, 
are to be expelled and reflected upon, Aimack's great 
rooms and the Rotunda would be thinly attended ; nay, 
I might add, his Majesty's Drawing-rooms. Do not 
these two efficient and trust-worthy officers, whose 
unquestionable integrity is as well known in Europe as 
in those countries, earn their stipend with as much 
assiduity and anxiety as the lowest quill driver in the 
letter carrier's office — I mean the esteemed Sir Edward 
Lees, and his respected colleague of the London Post- 
office, Sir Francis Freeling? Poverty is no crime ; but 
ignoble actions, worthless monopoly, self-pride, unbe- 
coming ambition and assumption, is detested in every 
enlightened and fashionable society. It is not what we 
were, but what we arc, that ought to be looked to in the 
present age. 

Cootehall, one of those beautiful seats that the cele^ 

brated General Coote, the ancestor of the late Lord Bel« 



lament, of Bellamont Forest in the County of Cavaii, ob- 
tained by the Revolution of 1688, is delightfully situated 
on an eminence a few miles from the town of Boyle. — 
When that opulent and tyrannical family got embarrassed 
by their prodigality and electioneering, the mansion and 
estate attached thereto was purchased by John M'Der- 
mott, Esq. on his marriage with the beautiful and ac- 
complished Miss O'Connor, of Mountpleasant in the 
King's County. Miss O'Connor's fortune, and the great 
l^oard of his eccentric uncle, Ned MacDermott of Cas- 
tletehan, enabled the young Squire to make large pur- 
chases. This could not be done without renouncing 
Popery, as the Act of 1793, though in contemplation by 
Mr. Knox, Henry Grattan, and the Secretai-y of the Ca- 
tholic Delegates of that time, (Mr. Wolfe Tone, god- 
son of the unfortunate Loi'd Kilwarden,) had not then, 
passed into a law. Poor John MacDermott was not 
very scrupulous about his religion : in short, as he 
often observed, they were silly fools who were particu- 
lar about swearing a few oaths that would qualify them 
for solvent purposes. However, Mr. MacDermott did 
not hesitate long, as, having a fine stud of horses, and 
being very fond of racing and hunting, he was appre- 
hensive that some of the neighbouring Cromwellians 
might be smitten with their beauty, and take them, as 
Catholics were not allowed, in these days of penal enact- 
ments, to keep good horses for fear of running too fast 
from the gibbet and triangle of their persecutors. Mr.^ 
MacDermott read his recantation in Dublin, and came 
home the first neophyte of the house of Cootehall ; his 
piety was hailed as no small prize by the opulent Pro- 
testant aristocracy of the County of Roscommon ; he was 
made a grand juror, and paid every other mark of re- 
spept, as well as having being initiated a member of the 
Hell-Jire Cluh, a fraternity something more notorious 
than the Brunswick Association, that was stifled in its 


birth a few days back, at their convocation room in Br. 
Boyton's chambers, commonly called Botany Bay, in 
Queen Elizabeth's own College. The reader must par- 
don me : the sanctity of the group led me from the road 
to Cootehall ; and to abridge my account of John Mac- 
Dermott, Esq. a more unfortunate man, save his only 
son, never graced the escutcheons of that ancient family. 
After his apostacy there was nothing but balls, routs and 
dinner parties, hunting, racing and night gambling ; so 
that his prodigality far exceeded his rent-roll, and in- 
stead of buying in he began to sell out. His lady died 
and left him that unfortunate son who was executed on 
the Commons of Kilmainham, in, I think, 1796, and two 
daughters who suffered many privations. Sometime 
after the death of his lady, when broken down and his 
property sold off, with the exception of about 80 acres of 
a marsh, called Clayboy, near Ballintober, he married, 
according to the ceremonies of the Catholic Church, the 
widow of Andrew Cusack, Esq. of Rockfield, near Ros- 
common, so that when poverty crept in Protestantism 
flew out : he died a Catholic a few years after, in the old 
house of Killinerty, near Oran Abbey. In addition to 
the property left Mr. MacDermott by his father, his 
uncle Ned, of Castletehan, left him twenty thousand 
guineas, though the old miser had several nephews and 
nieces, in no great affluence at the time, all of whom 
•were disappointed. The chief accusation against the 
unfortunate John MacDermott was heading a mob of 
foolish rustics to take by force Miss Tennison, of Castle- 
tennison, to the house of Cootehall in the same neigh- 
bourhood, to have her married to young Mac Dermott, a 
beardless boy of eighteen. Undoubtedly of the two fa- 
milies the MacDermotts claim the greater respectabi- 
lity, though Colonel Tennison is most respectably allied. 
Miss Tennison, very judiciously, left her father's house 
and took refuge in a neighboiH-ing cabin, from which 


ike had a full view of MacDermctt and his associatcif 
while searching for her. Being irritated from disap • 
pointment and intoxicated with raw spirits, the foolish 
youth on his way home, called at his uncle's to get break- 
fast, but the steward shut the gates against him : this en- 
raged him to such a degree that he was forcing his way 
in, as it was supposed, to get fire arms, when the stew- 
ard, cocking a blunderbuss in his face, shot part of his 
cheek and upper jaw completely off. He was carried 
home in that state, where he was arrested the same day 
by a troop of horse from the barrack of Boyle and lodged 
in Roscommon gaol. He was brought to trial in March, 
1796, the year that the Peep-o'-day Boys and the De- 
fenders were at war in the north and in many parts of 
Connaught, and after the Jury being locked up for 
twenty-four hours, the Sheriff made his report that there 
was no likelihood of their agreeing, upon which they 
were brought in a common dung cart to the village of 
Athleague on the River Suck, Avhich separates Galway 
and Roscommon, and discharged. Young MacDermott 
was then brought to Kilmainham, where be was tried 
before Lord Kilwarden, found guilty, and executed three 
clays after receiving sentence, in presence of the greatest 
concourse of people that were ever before witnessed on 
the priory lands, Mr. MacDermott was cousin to Chris- 
topher Cusack, Esq. of Rahaldron Castle in Meath, to 
the Countess of Desart, in the County of Kilkenny ; Mrs. 
Tuite, of Sonnagh, the lady of the Member for West- 
tneath; the MacDermotts of Ballyglassj and many 
others of equal respectability* 

Within a few miles of Cootehall is the celebrated Bal- 
linamuck, where Geileral Leake vanquished the French, 
and such of the foolish Irish as were mad enough to join 
them ; and where the unfortunate O'Dowd, Blake, and 
t^rench of Mayo, with many others, were hung, after the 
battle J as also that respected physician, Dr. Crunipe, 


who married Miss O'Connor of BallVcaher, tlie sister of 
Mrs. Browne of Mounthazle, in the County of Galway. 
Young Mr. Harkan of Rahan, near Elphin, was near 
suffering the same fate ; but pardoned through the in- 
terference of Arthur French, Esq. of Frenchpark House. 
In this neighbourliood also is Litterfine, the rural seat 
of the late George Nugent Reynolds, Esq. who was mur- 
dered by Kean of Newbrook, near Carrick-on-Shannon, 
for which he was executed, on the evidence of James 
Plunkett, Esq. of Kinnard, near Elphin, a few months 
after the melancholy catastrophe, in front of Newgate, 
Dublin. The Miss Reynolds, co-heiresses, have married 
the late Colonel Peyton of the County of Leitrim, and 
Reynolds Young, Esq. of the County of Cavan. The 
amiable and esteemed Mrs. Peyton has been recently 
married to Captain MacNamara of Bushy Park, in the 
Coimty of Clare ; and her only son by Colonel Peyton, 
now an officer in the Rifle Brigade quartered at Fer- 
moy, and who is universally esteemed, is to inherit the 
estates of the Reynolds and Peyton families, in the 
County of Leitrim, situated in the immediate neighbour- 
hood of Carrick-on Shannon. 

Charlestown, the seat of the late Sir Gilbert King, 
Bart, on the banks of the Shannon, is delightfully si- 
tuated contiguous to the Jamestown Spa. Sir Gilbert, 
who was an ensign in the army when he came in for the 
title, married the daughter of old Farmer Roe of Wex- 
ford. Her mother. Miss Grogan, was respectably con- 
nected in that county^ and the sister of Lady Colclough 
of Tinteran Abbey. Lady King had a large fortune, of 
which the Baronet was in need at the time : she is a hu- 
mane woman, and a good mother. 

There is hardly any thing particular in that part of 
the County of Roscommon, bordering on Leitrim, until 
you come to the town Elphin, if we except the handsome 


seats of the Messi's. Lloyd, Lawder, Begg, and the 
humble cottage of the Countess Roscommon and her 
lovely daughter the Lady Mary Dillon ; Cloonahee, the 
rural seat of Captain Conry, and some handsome villas, 
add much to the attractive beauty of the country. 

Elphin is a Bishop's see, with a large Cathedral, and a 
handsome Deanery. The rural villa that gave birth to 
the father of the immortal Goldsmith, called Bally- 
oughter, joins the wide district of Tyrearuin. The 
country undoubtedly is elysian in the highest degree, 
adorned by the noble and copious River Shannon on the 
north J the mountains of Slievebane and Rooskey on the 
east ; the beautiful plains of Boyle and Rathcroughan 
on the west and south. The copious spring in the town 
of Elphin is one of the most crystal in Europe, and flows 
rapidly in the middle of the wide street, contiguous to 
the site of an old abbey j it neither increases nor de- 
creases in rainy or sultry weather. Bishop Synge had a 
beautiful wall built round it, which was always kept in 
good order by his successors. Bishop Dobson, Bishop 
Law, Bishop Trench; but is now under the especial 
care of that delicate gentleman, Doctor Lesley. The 
handsome cottage of Barnwell Plunkett, Esq., joins 
Elphin. He lived many years at that rural villa called 
Foxborough, and man*ied the beautiful and highly-ac- 
complished Miss Scott of Newcastle-upon-Tyne — a fa- 
mily descended from a junior branch of the illustrious 
Dukes of Buccleugh. Along with Miss Scott's family 
alliance and great accomplishments, she brought an 
amiable temper and an ample fortune to her fond hus- 
band, who, in his youth, was considered one of the hand- 
somest young men in the county that gave him birth. 
Portobello, the seat of Thomas Stafford, Esq., and many 
other charming and rural residences, add to the enchant- 
ing scenes in and about the Bishop's Palace, in the an- 
cient town of Elphin. 


Cloonequin, the handsome seat of the late Heni7 
Walter French, Esq., is about two miles from Elphin* 
This was originally the inheritance of the ancient family 
of the O'Quins, of which they were deprived in the days 
of Queen Elizabeth, and given, as a reward for his san- 
guinary devastation, to the ancestor of the late Thomas 
Conolly, Esq. of Celbridge House in the County of Kil- 
dare, who married Lady Louisa Lennox, of the house of 
Richmond, but by whom he had no issue, which threw 
the opulence of that house into the possession of Ad- 
miral Pakenham, uncle to the Duchess of Wellington, 
and the father of a celebrated preacher, who calls him- 
self Colonel Conolly. However, the estates of Cloone- 
quin were let for 999 years, by the heirs of Celbridge, to 
one Arthur French, for about &s< per acre — the chief 
part of which is the best sheep walk and fattening 
ground in Ireland. The late Arthur French of Fox- 
borough, who died some years ago at an advanced age, 
at Cloyne House, near Charlemont demesne, in the 
County of Dublin, bequeathed large legacies to some 
needy friends and domestics — among whom were two 
girls, that he reared from their infancy at his own table, 
the one named Fallon and the other Duigenan, the daugh- 
ters of his steward and his gardener. Along with mak- 
ing the ladies mistresses of all his ready money, plate, 
carriages, horses, and furniture, he left them part of the 
lands of Flaska, in the County of Roscommon. These 
liberal bequests caused no small jealousy in the mind of 
the new heir, Henry Walter French, of Lodge, a hand- 
some cottage, much improved by the late Samuel Owens, 
Esq., while he occupied that enchanting and conspi- 
cuous residence, which overlooks the most verdant and 
beautiful plains in Europe, and profusely yielding the 
necessaries of life in due season. Mr. Henry French, to 
set aside the uncle's will, went to law with Miss Fallon 
and Miss Duigenan, by which he involved himself so 


much, that his interest in about one thousand acres was 
sold to Dennis O'Conor of Ballinag-are, Walter Balfe of 
Heathfield, and to John Flanagan of Clogher, to the 
great prejudice of the heir-at-law, Colonel French of 
Athlone, whose son inherits the property at the present 
time. Mr. French married the highly accomplished 
Miss Plunkett of Mantua House, and the sister of Ma- 
jor Plunkett of Kinnard, who married Miss Gunning, 
daughter of General Gunning of Holly well. Car gens, 
the seat of Daniel Kelly, Esq., the rural villas of the 
Messrs. Plunketts, and the seat of Mr. Ferrall of Bloom- 
field, are in this neighbourhood. 

Cloonfree, the handsome seat of Mr. Mahon, deserves 
our notice. The late Mr. Mahon married (I think) a 
Miss Span, the daughter of a Hugonot gentleman of that 
name, connected with bankers of some eminence in the 
City of Dublin. This unfortunate woman lived many 
years as the wife of Mr. Mahon, by whom she had no 
children, but a few days previous to his death the good 
woman got in the family way, and brought home young 
Mr. Mahon about eight months after his father's death, 
who was in a bad state of health some years. The wi- 
dow was strongly suspected for living in a state of adul- 
tery before her husband's death, with one Armstrong, a 
common horse-breaker, and the illegitimate of a gentle- 
man of that name in the King's County, who was em- 
ployed frequently at Cloonfree to break in horses ; and, 
to confirm this strong suspicion, her husband was hardly 
cold in his grave when she married Armstrong, who 
was afterwards hung for house robbery at Longford, 
The Mahons of Ballinafad and Strokestown carried on 
' a long litigation against jtfee wretched and much-per- 
secuted woman, to bastardize her son ; but all was use- 
less : he is Mr. Mahon, and inherits his father's virtues 
^nd the family property. 

Strokestown, the noble seat of l/ord Hartland, aa- 


oilier branch of the Mahons of Cloonfree, is delightfully 
situated in a charming glen under Slievebane mountain. 
Maurice Mahon, Esq., who was created Baron Hartland 
in 1800, married Miss Moore of Kilworth, in the County 
of Cork, by whom he had the present Lord Hartland, 
who married the daughter of a Counsellor Topping, in 
London. The Rev. Maurice Mahon of Upper Mount- 
street, Dublin, married Miss Hume of the County Wick- 
3ow; and Stephen Mahon died lately in England, un- 
married. The titles and estates go to their cousin, the 
son of the late Dean Mahon of Annaduff, by Miss Kelly 
of Castle-Kelly, in the County of Galway. The large 
estates of Strokestown was anciently the inheritance of 
O'Conor Roe, who married Lady Anne O'Brien, the 
eldest daughter of the Prince of Thomond and Clare. 
This is a good market and post town, watered by a beau- 
tiful river, situated in a sporting and eligible country, 
and which produces the best tillage in this county. — 
Except the Mahons of Ally-Lewis and Ballinafad, who 
are remote branches, the house of Strokestown is ex- 
tinct, after the death of the present Baron and poor 
Maurice, the best natured soul that ever graced a pulpit 
— he seems much older than his own mother. The 
Mahons of Strokestown were charitable and good na- 
tured to their domestics and tenantry. I knew one Corn- 
well and his wife who made a fortune with them ; poor 
man, he died quite suddenly at the house of a Mr. 
Nolan, near Donamon — and his widow, a second Lady 
Hartland, died in town, and was buried in great pomp. 
A few miles from Strokestown is Tomona, the hand- 
some seat of Peter O'Conor, Esq., descended from the 
house of O'Conor Roc; they were at one time in pos- 
session of the estate at Castleruby, in this neighbourhood, 
which they lost by the robberies that were committed in 
1688. I do not wonder at the progeny of these wolves 
and tigers idolizing those detestable and sanguinaiy 


times, as It rescued many of tlicir ancestors from the 
lowest and most abject stations in life, and placed them 
and their posterity in the mansions and wide domains of 
the ancient nobles of the kingdom. Hov/ heinous the 
crime of that fanatic, Jonathan Martin, appeared to the, 
inhabitants of Great Britain, and to the followers of the 
Saint of Scotland, Jack Knox, not many days ago, for 
setting fire to that noble pile of Catholic England, so 
much admired in the days of the great King Alfred : — 
and how little the monsters of the Reformation, the 
sanctified followers of Oliver Cromwell and the Prince 
of Orange, thought of laying thousands of such models 
cf the house of prayer a roofless havoc ; and far from be- 
ing reprimanded, were lauded to the sky for their base, 
rapacious^ and cruel massacres, and levelling with the 
ground the sanctuaries dedicated to the living God. 
Verily, verily, I say unto you, these worthies met their 
revv'^ard ; and I fear that God will visit the sins of such 
Darents on their children, to the third and fourth gene- 
ration. lioM'ever, to return to the ancient though not 
opulent family of Tomona, near the old borough of 
Tuisk — Michael O'Connor, the son of John O'Connor of 
Castleruby, married the sister of O'Ferrall of Ardandrew, 
in the County of Longford, who inherited the large 
estates given to the ancestors of Lovel Edgeworth, Esq. 
of Lisard or Edgeworthstown. The issue of the mar- 
riage by Mif-C O'Ferrall was John O'Connor, Esq., who 
married Miss Dowell of Gort House, near Athlone, by 
wiiom he had the present inheritor, Peter O'Connor 
Roe, Esq., and the highly accomplished Mrs. French of 
Rocksavage, near Roscommon. The small mansion of 
Tomona is delightfully situated on the great road lead- 
ing from Tulsk to Castlerea and Westport, commanding 
a most enchanting view of the house and demesne of 
Cargins ; the noble ruin of Tulsk Abbey, and the lovely 
plains of Rathcroughan and Carnhill, diversify the scene 


with all that is sublime and beautiful. Another rare 
and attractive scene is to be witnessed a short distance 
from the residence of this humble house of the heirs of 
O'Connor Roe. The most copious saline mineral spring 
la Europe bursts in all its magnitude from beneath the 
ruin of the once great Monastry of the house of O'Gilby. 
From this great spring solely proceeds the handsome 
and rapid river that waters (in its serpentine career) the 
noble mansion of the house of Kelly — the village and 
great Abbey of Tulsk — Foxborough, the rural seat of 
Patt Taaffe, Esq. — and Lisnanean, the remote though 
elysian villa that gave birth to that noble-minded lady, 
the late and justly lamented Catherine Lavina O'Conor 
Don of Cloonalis Castle. Brierfield, the admired seat of 
Charles Hawks, Esq., on the immediate banks of a beau- 
tiful and deep lake, is in this neighbouihoodj as also 
Dillonsgrove, the ancient seat of the Dillon family, a 
junior branch of the noble house of Roscommon. The 
Dillonsgrove family are extinct — the late Gerald Dillon, 
Esq. was the last male of that esteemed family. He was 
a most singular character in many respects, and by no 
means deficient in the great pride of his illustrious an- 
cestors. Mr. Dillon intended to build a great castle at 
Dillonsgrove, and after he had raised it to the first story, 
he took a second thought that he could not finish it 
without incumbering his property -, the work was there- 
fore suspended, and never afterwards finished. He mar- 
ried an English lady, whose family name I forget ; and 
in drawing up the marriage-settlement he told the 
lawyer that he was determined to settle a handsome 
dowry on Mrs. Dillon, and that he had a large tract of 
ground separate from his other estates in Ireland, called 
Inchegore, the whole of which, and the stock thereon, 
should be made over to his dear and beloved wife, should 
she survive him. The deed was drawn up accordingly, 
and his servant was called up as the only Irishman in 


the house, except his master, to sign it a* a witness, 
" Patt," said Mr. Dillon, " I have settled the Cape, the 
Rock, and the whole of the estate of Inchegore on that 
lovely woman (pointing to the lady), who, after tliis 
night, is to be the sole mistress of the enchanting Dil- 
lonsgrove." " O Lord, Master," said the good naturcd 
Patrick O'Muldom, " by my soul you have beggared the 
son and heir. This caused a great laugh in the draw- 
ing-room, which was crowded to excess, to see an Irish 
Catholic squire married in England, which was a novel 
scene in those days, previous to those marts for fortune- 
hunters being established at Cheltenham, Bath, Clifton, 
and Leamington. Inchegore was nothing but about 
half an acre of a barren rock, in the middle of a Avide 
callow, that was in general inundated in the winter 
months, and formed into a beautiful lake in the vicinity 
of Dillonsgrove, which covered upwards of 200 acres, 
and which, in the spring of the year vanished into some 
deep gulfs and quarry-holes. The stock to which Mr. 
Gerald Dillon referred was a large clutch of croaking 
gulls, that took possession of this rock during those 
months that man or beast could not approach them. 
Tho' this was to be the dowry of Mrs. Dillon, she did not 
live to enjoy it, as she died a few days after giving birth 
to her second daughter. A more amiable woman could 
not live, nor a more affectionate husband than Gerald 
Dillon. Although he was a young man when his wife 
died, he never married afterwards ; and it was more out 
of raillery he got this deed drawn up (as the lady's 
parents seemed so particular), than any intention of de- 
priving his wife of that maintenance her rank and for- 
tune entitled her to, as he idolized her — and his love 
met a return, in the many virtues of the best of wives. 
The two Misses Dillon, co-heiresses, possessed this 
handsome estate after their father's death j the eldest 
married Mr. Thomas Connor of Corristoona, a rural 


villa on the Lyster estate, in this neighbourhood; and 
, the second, a Mr. O'Brien, who called himself O'Brien 
Dillon. The estate was divided between the brothers- 
in-law ; the moiety of Dillons-Grove came to the lot of 
Mr. and Mrs. O'Brien, and that part called Milltown, 
near Castle-Plunkett, to Mr. and Mrs. Connor, on which 
that gentleman built a handsome mansion called Mill- 
town-House. The residence and demesne are worthy 
of a more extensive patrimony, as the whole does not 
exceed live hundred acres. The amiable Mrs. Connor, 
after giving birth to two sons and one daughter, paid 
that debt we must all do sooner or later, and was inter- 
red in the vault of her noble ancestors in the beautiful 
ruin of Tubbereloe, a short distance from the mansion 
that gave her birth. The present inheritor, Roderick 
Connor, is her eldest son; the other son died in the 
army ; and the daughter married a Mr, Davis of the 
County of Galway. After his wife's death, Mr. Thomas 
Connor became a convert to Protestantism, in lieu of 
which (as a reward for his piety) he was appointed High 
Sheriff and a Magistrate of the County of Roscommon. 
This sudden jump in the heir presumptive of the lowly 
thatched cottage of Tubberfour, commonly called Cor- 
ristoona, astonished many, as none in those days got to 
be Sheriffs but staunch Cromwellians, or such as swal- 
lowed the balsam of the " Immortal Memory." At this 
time the great Sheriff assumed the name of O'Connor of 
Milltown — a novel appendage in those days, and which 
no person assumed but those immediately descended 
from royalty. He not only done this, but also usurped 
the two great lions (the Royal Oak and the valiant hand 
of Ireland) from the O'Conors Don, and added them to 
his great escutcheons. The new Sheriff became a zea- 
lous neophyte, and could hardly bear (like the pious 
Bishop Magee) a Popish domestic to debase or sully his 
establishment — indeed so much so, that orange liveries 


and trappings were his state clothing for the gaudy 
phalanx that graced his equipage on the plains of Ros- 
common. This magnificent appearance was the best 
way in the world for borrowing money j besides, the 
High Sheriff could give land security upon his son's 
property, who was then a minor. As for poor Tom 
himself, he had not so much as the breadth of his orange 
mantle ; and it was by ways and means large sums of 
money were raised, which the Sheriff never paid ; among 
others, five h 'ndred pounds from Neaty Purcell of the 
town of Roscommon, who died in the greatest want in 
his old age. Thus, said the poor man, Tom Connor 
done me neatly out of my five hundred pounds by pro- 
mising what he never intended to pay — the principal or 
the interest. By those means, that mighty pillar on the 
ground of truth, called Milltown-House, was built, and 
when nearly finished, the unfortunate undertaker was 
killed by a fall from the scaffold. The poor serfs and 
mechanics raised a great uproar about not getting paid 
for their labour, but Mr. O'Connor said he paid the 
undertaker, and added, that he did not employ them. — 
Master Tom, as the ladies of Castle-Plunkett used to 
call him during his widowhood, married Miss O'Flynn, 
(the same lady that William Scimitar Burke described 
so lovely in his lampoons,) the daughter of Coll O'Flynn 
of Turla, in the County of Galway, Esq. By this union 
he got about two thousand pounds. The old maid, in 
her younger days, refused some of the best matches and 
the most respectable connexions in that county. It was 
not long after this marriage till Mr. Connor had to hide 
himself from his creditors, of which it seems the kind 
Magistrate was aware. Before he took possession of 
the ark, as it was called, he built a round tower in the 
g;arden, which was fenced in by a very high wall, and 
to which there was no access but through this garden ;^ 
the windows looked pleasantly on some young planta- 


tions and the beautiful plains of Bushfield. From the 
different languages spoken at the bottom of this turret, 
some addressing their debtor in Enghsh, others in Irish, 
and a black servant (who waited on Master Tom) fre- 
quently turning off the applicants in French, it got the 
appellation of the Tower of Babel, The unfortunate 
Miss O'Flynn was compelled to fly from MilltoAvn, with- 
out even as much money as would bear her expenses to 
the next village. Her misfortunes are too well known 
in that country to shock the feelings of the reader, by 
attempting to give even an outline of her privations ; 
she lived solely by begging amongst those who knew 
her in better days at the hospitable mansion of her 
father, O'Flynn of Turla. This wretched woman died 
at the hut of one Boland, on the mountains of her 
ancestors, called the Mountains of O'Flynn, in the neigh- 
bourhood of Castlerea, in this county ; and her husband 
(if he deserved that name) died at a common hovel, near 
Ballintober, some few years after. His brother, Denis 
O'Connor of Willsbrook, was so disgusted with his con- 
duct, that he built a burial place for himself and his 
children, fearing that their bones should moulder in the 
same grave. His son, Roderick O'Connor, married an 
English lady, who died while Doctor Crumpe was in 
the act of bleeding her at Milltown-House. In a short 
time after he married one Bridget Browne, the widow 
of blind Tom Wills of Perryborough, near Ballinlough. 
Their eldest son was lately married to Miss M'Donnell 
of Mayo. Mr. Roderick O'Connor, much to his credit, 
is a very industrious gentleman ; he kept a brewery 
some years, under the firm of Milltown and Co. He 
unfortunately kept a private still, and one of his good 
spies having given information against him, he was very 
heavily fined, which embarrassed him very much. But 
the good man's troubles did not end here : one Jack 
Dillon, a noted informer, swore he was a defender, and 


the consequence was that he was taken from his bed by 
a troop of horse, and confined in the Castle of Athlone, 
where the Handcocks, the Wood-cocks, and the No- 
cocks sat as judges; but Mr. Rody was honourably 
acquitted, and Jack Dillon was obliged to leave the 
country, I think the good Newell is still watchman of 
St. Mary's Parish, in the City of Dublin. Unfortunate 
Dillon was first cousin to some rich graziers in that 
neighbourhood, called the Irwins of Rathmile; and his 
mother, a Miss Hinds, was respectably allied to the 
O'Beirnes of Carrick-on-Shannon, and a long string of 
those Dillons, Simpsons and Co. 

Belgard Lodge, near Milltown, built by the late 
Thomas Dillon of Belgard Castle, Esq., Is a rural villa, 
and much improved by a Mr. Balfe, who resides there. 
Mr. Dillon was maternally descended from the illustrious 
family of Talbot ; his grandfather was brother to the 
Duke of Tyrconnell, who was Viceroy of this kingdom 
in the days of James the Second. He married Catherine 
Howard, of the house of Norfolk. Henry Dillon, the 
father of Thomas, married Miss Moore, a lady connected 
with a very ancient Catholic family in the neighbour- 
hood of Drogheda. Thomas Dillon married Miss Dowell 
of Mantue, near Elphin, by whom he had no issue. — 
His second wife was Miss O'Moore of Annabeg, near 
Ballinasloe. He died while travelling in Wales, on his 
way to join Mrs. Dillon in London. His death was 
caused by a small contusion on his shin-bone, which he 
met with coming from one of Lady Buckingham's grand 
routes at the Castle of Dublin, and his going to sea so 
soon after the accident inflamed his leg, which brought 
on an immediate mortification. He made — or, at least, 
he got some person at the miserable farm-house where 
he died, to write a will, bequeathing fifteen hundred 
pounds per annum to his Avife, whom he idolized, in 
addition to her dowry. Yet Avoman is frail ! She met a 


S^ed-foced Irishman of the name of O'Brady, while tra- 
velling amongst those romantic scenes in Switzerland ; 
and who could resist his charms ? He persuaded her, 
by way of killing grief, to take a trip to the altar of 
hymen, whicii she immediately assented to. Had Mr. 
Thomas Dillon of Belgai'd Castle, who killed himself for 
love, stopped in Dublin to have his shin-bone cured, he 
might have lived many years longer. No : Mrs. Dillon 
was a fascinating yoinig woman, and nothing but the 
most urgent business could keep him from her. He 
died without the benefit of his clergy — as the noble 
abbey of St. David was robbed of its birth-right, not 
so much as one of the priesthood that sanctified its walls 
being allowed a successor. Alas ! the children that she 
once gathered are gone astray after other gods, and a 
new mode of worship — John Wesley, Joanna Southcote, 
and the other Ranters and Jumpers that bundled amongst 
them, weak people I — is their chosen guide to salvation, 
while the true worship of the living God is considered 
a mere mockery. 

After the death of Tom Dillon, his hrother, an old 
eccentric German officer, came in for the Dillon estates 
in thje Counties of Dublin and Roscommon. He led a 
single, though I cannot say a virtuous life. His servant, 
one John College, ruled paramount at the house of Bel- 
gard ; while that phlegmatic opulent grazier, Dick 
Irwin, managed the tenantry and the private affairs in 
the counti'y. Poor John Dillon was only tenant at will 
in the house that ought to be his own ; no guest or rela- 
lation were admitted to the old mansion at Belgard 
Castle only those who had cap in hand to Mr. College ; 
no leases or grants were made to any of the tenantry on 
the Lisalvey manors, in Roscommon, no matter what 
their claim or their respectability, unless through the 
interference of Mr. Irwin. So infatuated was this old 
bachelor, and so much was he undev the controul of 


these worthy gentry, tljat wills were made, in which 
legacies were left at their nod. While Dick Irwin held 
the reins, not of tlie government, but the tenantry of 
the house of Dillon, he, from being a very poor man, 
tilling his own garden on a kind of a marsh called Pool- 
Ranny, which he afterwards refined to Fernhall, accu- 
mulated only the small board of about two hundred 
thousand pounds ; and John College, who has recently 
built a new street, near Brompton, in the County of 
Middlesex, about sixty thousand pounds. This man 
was only a raw recruit when Captain Dillon took him 
into his service. In this way did strangers, who had 
no pretension to family, fortune, or even a domestic 
claim on tliis eccentric old bachelor, enrich thetnselves 
and their friends at his expense, by giving them ways 
and means, and long leases at a Ioav rent, while the 
'ungrateful man left his own cousins (the Dillons of 
Bracklon) actually begging as common mendicants 
through the countiy. Any person that ever seen poor 
Kit Dillon bending to the ground with a weighty incum- 
brance of bags, packs, and leathern pooches, must feel 
for him ; and the rest of the family were nothing better. 
Captain Dillon died in London. He bequeathed his 
estates to a Mr. Trant and the uncle of young Hearne 
of Hearnesbrook, in the County of Galway, who died in 
a French prison, in a fit of apoplexy, in 1809. 

Castle-Plunkett, the ancient seat of the Plunkett fa- 
mily, joins Belgard Lodge, commonly called Heathfield. 

Ballinagare, the ancient scat of O'Conor, is within a 
few miles of Castle-Plunkett, situated in a verdant val- 
ley, adorned by a river, which empties itself into a ro- 
mantic lake, called Loughbally, and is the present resi- 
dence of O'Conor, who took the title of O'Conor Don on 
the extinction of the house of Cloonalis. Major O'Conor, 
who was cousin to O'Conor of Ballintober, married the 
daughter of O'Rourke of Breffny Castle, His son, Charles 


O'Conor, married the daughter of a merchant of the 
name of Fagau — her mother was of the Taaffes of Sligo. 
Charles O'Connor, speakmg of himself, says that in 
marrying he yielded to the wishes of his father, who 
made a sale of him for a few hundred pounds, of which, 
he stood in need at the time. This lady was the mother 
of Denis O'Conor and Charles O'Conor, who lived in the 
neighbourhood of Boyle, of Hugh O'Conor, who became 
an apostate, and thought to inherit the patrimony of 
Ballinagare, and of two daughters, the elder of whom 
married the Prince of Coolavin, and the younger, a Mr. 
Higgins, who resided near Tuam ; Denis O'Conor mar- 
ried Miss Browne of Cloonfad, near Elphinj Hugh, 
Miss Connor of Corristown ; and Charles, if I am not 
mistaken, a Miss MacDonnell of Knockranny, in the 
neighbourhood of Castle-Tennison. The present O'Co-- 
nor Don married the accomplished Miss Moore, of 
Mount-Brown near Dublin. Matthew O'Conor, of 
Mountdruid, married Miss Forbes of the County Long- 
ford : what family her mother was of, save that her name 
was Peggy Farrell, I cannot say, but she had the money, 
and that is introduction enough in these days ; Martin 
and Roderick O'Connor died unmarried ; and the Rev. 
Charles O'Connor, lately deceased, was in holy orders, 
and Chaplain to the Duchess of Buckingham. Miss 
O'Conor married her cousin, MacDermott of Coolavin : 
another Miss O'Connor married a Mr. Lyons, of Lyons- 
town near Boyle ^ and the youngest, that eminent phy- 
sician and highly-bred gentleman. Doctor Shell, of Do- 
negal. I almost forgot that there is another of these 
ladies married to O'Donnell of Larkfield, near Bally- 
shannon, in the County Donegal. Denis, the son of 
O'Conor Don, is married to Miss Blake, of Tower Hill 
in the County of Mayo, and his eldest daughter is mar- 
ried to Mapother of Kiltevan, near Roscommon. 


Frenchpark House is about two miles from Bailing- 
gare. This was anciently the noble seat of the heirs of 
O'Gara, which, on the failure of male issue, came to the 
rich heiress of that house on her marriage with young 
MacDermott of Coolavin, and was sold by their prodigal 
son, Major MacDermott, to Patrick French, an eminent 
merchant in the town of Galway, who became an apos- 
tate in order to have the privilege of purchasing lands 
and becoming a general merchant. Arthur, the son of 
Patrick by a Miss Blake of Oran Castle, married Miss 
Gore of Sligo. John and (I think) William French, 
their sons, were drowned between Parkgate and Dublin. 
Arthur, their successor, married a Miss Magenis of the 
County of Fermanagh ; and George French was shot in 
a duel by Lawder Crofton, of Moate near Roscommon. — 
The late Member for Roscommon married the beautiful 
and much-esteemed Miss Costello, of Edmondstown in 
Mayo ; Henry French, the merchant, of Sackville-street, 
married a Miss Lennon of Castletown ; George French, 
the barrister, married Miss Jones of Stephen's green, 
the kinswoman of Viscount Ranelagh, and the sister of 
Mrs. Bolton, of Mayne House in the County of Louth ; 
Dean French married his cousin. Miss JMaginnis, of 
Deansfort in the County of Cavan | Richard and Wil- 
liam French are as yet unmarried ; Miss French married 
the late Daniel Kelly, Esq. of Cargins, by whom she had 
one son ; her second husband was an officer in the army; 
and she is now the wife of the Hon. James Butler, bro- 
ther to the Earl of Kilkenny ; the second Miss French 
married Captain Handcock of Athlone, whose son will 
succeed to the title of Viscount Castlemaine after the pre- 
sent Brunswicker closes his eyes upon Willybrook in 
Westmeath -, the third Miss French married Mr. Gorge, 
of Kilbrue, near Slane; and the fourth married Mr. 
MoUoy, of Oakport near Boyle. The children of the 
late Arthur French, Esq. are, the present Member for 


Roscommon, who married the daughter of Christopher 
Frencli MacDermott, Esq. of Cregga, near Elphin ; the 
Rev. John French, Rector of Goresbridge in the County 
of Kilkenny ; Fitzstephen French, Esq. ; and anotlier 
son wliose name I forget. — Daughters : Mrs. Archdea- 
con Digby, of the County of Longford ; Mrs. Owen 
Lloyd, of Lisadurn ; and Mrs. Kelly of Cargins. Ano- 
ther of these amiable daughters died in Bath, and is in- 
terred with her mother in the old Church at Cheltenham. 
The splendid hospitality of the house of Frenchpark is 
too well known to need the biographer's display or eu- 
logy. The annual rent-roll of that noble house amounts 
to eighteen thousand pounds, of which the benev^olent 
heirs are in every respect Avorthy, and no man more so 
than the present inheritor. The family mansion and 
the magnificent demesne are unquestionably in the 
highest degree superior to any residence in that part of 
the county. Captain French of Boyle, Counsellor French 
of Kildare-street, and Miss French, who married WolfFe 
the barrister, afterwards Viscount Kilwarden, are allied 
to the Frenches of Frenchpark ; and the Frenches of 
Galway are descended from the same ancestors. 

There is no county in his Majesty's dominions more in 
need of poor laws than Roscommon. The whole of the 
aristocracy of this fine county are absentees, and the soil 
is generally let to middlemen or opulent graziers, wiio 
expel the small farmers and oppress the working slaves, 
a class of persons called cotters, solely at the mercy of 
these worthless monopolists, w^ho remove them at will, 
and send themselves and their families begging through 
the country ; their scanty pittance seldom exceeds four- 
pence per day, for which they are obliged to work from 
sun-rise to sun-set. After their toil they retire to their 
wretched mud hut, suffering all those complicated pri- 
vations and indescribable misfortunes at which nature 
shudders in giving utterance. Hete the scene of misery 

becomes (in many respects) too revolting to any person 
that ever witnessed the humble and frugal repast of 
comfortable cottagers in other countries. Even Wales, 
with all her barren rocks and steep mountains — contrast 
the comforts of the peasantry of that country with the 
miseries, bad fare, and nudity of the same class in Ire- 
land, and particularly on the beautiful plains of Boyle, 
Rathcroughan, and Roscommon. In Wales, you find, 
in its romantic glens, though covered with brushwood 
and fur, a family, who have no other dependence but 
their labour, living in a clean, well-furnished, humble 
cottage, with glass windows to admit that light and the 
rays of the sun, which heaven, with its great munifi- 
cence, has bestowed to shine on the monster of in- 
famy and oppression, as well as those who suffer with 
patience, humility, and their confidence of being one 
day released from their miseries, and restored to that 
God who witnessed their wrongs. The family of the 
Welsh cotter are neatly clothed in the russet of their 
OAvn make — each person executing tlie duties imposed 
upon them by their master or their parents, living in 
mutual harmony and obedience with each other, and 
co-operating for one end — that is, by their industry, to. 
live in that mediocrity that would prevent them from 
becoming troublesome to the parish, or to be placed un- 
der the caprice and austere frown of a workhouse 
matron. In the County of Roscommon, of which I have 
a local knowledge, there is not in Europe a more poor 
and wretched peasantry. Look to the cotters or serfs 
on the lands of the rich Jack Farrell, Walter Balfe,, 
Dick Irwin, John Flanagan, Luke Harkan, Michael 
Plunkett, and the Elwoods, near Boyle — and see the 
huts and the few wattles that alone prevents them from 
living as miserable as the Hindoos or African tribes, 
M'ho have the advantage of a sultry climate ; their little 
fire placed in the middle of a crib, supported by a few 


loose stones at the back — and the smoke, from the stinch 
of Aveeds and what is called mud turf, is quite intoler- 
able, and changes the very aspect and caps of the females 
to yellow hue — distorting their countenances and mak- 
ing their eyes of a reddish colour. Their fare is nothing 
but potatoes, and in general not even a sufficiency of 
that useful and nutritious vegetable ; and at night no- 
thing to lay their weary limbs upon but a wad of straw, 
or damp rushes, generally termed a shake-down.— 
These people suffer such privations, that a salt herring 
%vould be considered a greater luxury than a bason of 
turtle soup at Sheriff Flood's (immortal memory) dinner 
would be to Father Abraham. The unfortunate people 
are also obliged to pay at the rate of eight or ten guineas 
an acre for sand, for what they term potato soil, to sup- 
port their family — and earn the rent by going to Eng- 
land in the harvest months, or working at home for the 
miserable pittance of four-pence per day, without so 
much as a cup of water to cool their tongue. Another 
Infamous system practised in this country, is the extort- 
ing work from the rustic tenantry, in addition to the 
most exorbitant rent, and a duty of fowl. I have known 
big Tom Magrath, who lived many years in Castlerea, 
and who was what is generally termed a middle-man, 
to charge his tenantry annually, seven geese, seven 
ducks, seven turkeys, and a dozen of fat pullets, each. 
Big Dick Irwin, who was agent to the Dillons of Bel- 
gard, in this County, for forty years got his turf cut, 
saved, and finally left in his haggard, and his potato 
and other requisite labour done, without one penny of 
expence through the whole year — a gross imposition on 
the tenantry of this weak absentee family. It cer- 
tainly was a most oppressive grievance to see the cattle 
of a whole district pounded to enforce manual labour, 
for an upstart and tyrannical deputy agent, who raised 
himself into opulence by such voracious and unjustifiable 


imposition, and to expect the labour of tlie poor, which 
is their only wealth, merely because he was authorised 
to receive rent by their landlord. I could quote a thou- 
sand others, but indeed few who carried their exactions 
to so gross an extent as Mr. Irwin, who had the tenantry 
of three thousand acres solely under his merciless con- 
troul and jurisdiction. Undoubtedly, Mr. Dick Irwin 
was a very efficient and useful agent, as in later days he 
could accommodate his Lord with money to any amount, 
until his rents became due ; and I am bound to say that 
he was an honest man in other respects ; and had he 
not thought these base exactions the system of the 
country, and pursued by his predecessors, he would not 
perhaps have demanded the labour of the widow, the or- 
phan, and the wretched peasant. There is another set 
of persons called tithe-procters, who are the greatest 
possible annoyance to the poor serfs and struggling far- 
mers. These pestiferous and unconscionable knaves go 
about, not like methodist preachers and swaddling old 
maids, doing good, but sowing the seed of discord, eccle- 
siastical litigation, and pressing the poor and needy to 
the earth with more rapacity than even the statute with 
all its careful enactments authorises. In consequence 
of the exactions of these wasps (I cant say bees) gather- 
ing the spiritual honey for the pious divines who have 
not even the pretext of a parish church, nor a resident 
clergy, the Popish population derive no benefit whatever 
from their hard praying and perpetual fasting. But this 
I can verify, that the two gentlemen I had the honour 
of knowing as rapacious tithe-proctors in the district 
where my poor father lived, who was nothing more nor 
less than a struggling farmer, were two of the greatest 
rogues (and were convicted as such) that the Church 
triumphant could boast of as the most efficient and as- 
,siduous in gathering Peter's pence. For fear that any 
person would think that what I say is false, I give their 



names and residence : — the first of these honest thieves 
\Vas one James Fallon, who lived as a deputy-proctor 
under the Reverend Thomas Young of Castlerea. The 
Rector, chiefly resided in Bath, from vrhich, when the 
wind permitted, he sent his spiritual benediction to his 
Popish parishioners, as there was not so much as one 
Protestant, save poor Tom Connor of Milltown, in two or 
three rich unions. Honest Jemmy Fallon, God rest him 
poor soul, (I am afraid he is in need of being prayed for) 
generally levied an annual cess on the good people of 
his walk (as he called it) of half-a-crown upon each 
house, a few fat pullets, some rolls of fresh butter, and 
dozens of new laid eggs, with a few hanks of yarn for 
linen to his children. These private gifts were for giv- 
ing a false report, by putting down only one acre in 
place of three, and so on. After living many years on 
his means genteelly, as a prop of the Church and a base 
and worthless extortioner of the wretched people who 
were so weak as to bribe him, Mr. Young banished him 
as an unfit person to hold the situation any longer. His 
successor, well known as squinty-ey'd Tom Minchin, 
was by far a more rapacious character. He held the 
situation some years before he was detected in his vil- 
lainy, and shared in no small degree the confidence of 
the Sandford family — he being constable and proctor ; 
and, in short, his nod seemed to carry more integrity 
with it than another person's oath. However, after his 
long career in this way, (not until he had accumulated 
some money) the pious man, who was a class leader, and 
sometimes a preacher at the Methodist meetings in this 
town, being the child of avarice from his birth, the 
demon of darkness tempted him to forge a receipt to 
the amount of seven hundred pounds, upon as upright 
a man (though weak in many respects) as ever was 
born, Henry Moore, Baron Mount-Sandford. On being 



convicted, in the Court-house of Roscommon, before the 
late Judge Osborne, in 1813, he was sent to prison for 
life ; but through the interference of his wife, the daugh- 
ter of a saddler of the name of Cotton, and the cousin 
of the Curate of St. Anne's, he was liberated some time 
after the Noble Lord's death. 


[A Second Volume of Mr. Gibbon's " Recollections" 
will appear in the course of the ensuing month.] 













3 9031 


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